Church – What Biblically is the Church?

What Biblically is

The Church?

 

 

Reviewed or considered by Angela Lewis,

Bert Botter,

Lynn and Martha Rowe,

Ann Miller,

Elaine Nesmith,

Angela Reeves,

Miriam Wilson

 

Re-Edited by Elaine Nesmith

 

“It’s too much! It’s many papers in one! Is this the answer to one lady’s question? How much time does she have? I had to stop at page 24!” —Cheryl M., Staff Editor

 

[Warning! This Paper is hazardous, causing serious brain overload and theological frustration. Read at your own risk. All writers, reviewers and participants claim no responsibility for its contents. The computer’s random selection did it all, just like in Evolution.]

 

 

The following are ‘hyperlinks’ that will jump your screen to its corresponding section.

 

 

Introduction

Local Church Assemblies. 4

Church of God. 4

Church in the Lord Jesus. 6

Churches in Christ

Church Responsibility

Churches are Responsible for Other Churches. 7

Taking Care of the Church of God. 7

Collecting for Poor Saints. 7

Gathering

. 8Edifying. 8

Customs. 9

Understanding. 9

No Charge to the Church. 10

Establishing the non-Jewish Branches of the Body. 11

Door of Faith unto the Gentiles. 11

Elders in Every Church. 13

Persecution of the Jerusalem Church. 14

Thanks to the Churches of the Gentiles. 15

Unified Greetings. 15

More Church Salutes. 15

Church in Jerusalem.. 16

Church at Antioch. 16

Cenchrean Church. 16

More Churches. 17

Other Texts. 17

House of God as the Church of the Living God. 20

Church Identified As Body of Christ 29

Messiah as Head of the Body, the Church. 29

The Purpose of the Church. 30

Adding to the Church. 30

Feeding the Church of God. 31

Ministry Varieties and Ranks in the Church. 32

Putting Fear into the Church. 33

Glory of Messiah in the Church. 33

Persecuting and Wasting the Church. 33

Church Being Israel 34

When the Church is Israel 34

Church of the Firstborn. 34

The Unclean, Unholy Church As Messiah’s Wife. 39

Other Church Texts. 41

Messiah’s Church Building. 41

The Church in Contrast to Gentiles. 42

Church Bully. 42

A Pagan Church. 42

The Seven Churches: Introduction. 43

The Seven Churches: Ephesus. 43

The Seven Churches: Smyrna. 45

The Seven Churches: Pergamos. 46

The Seven Churches: Thyatira. 47

The Seven Churches: Sardis. 48

The Seven Churches: Philadelphia. 49

The Seven Churches: Laodicea. 50

Assembly. 52

Diana’s Assembly. 52

Body Of Christ 53

Only One Body. 53

One Body. 55

Jewish and non-Jewish Saints in One Body. 55

Many Members in One Body. 57

Body. 58

Body Members. 59

Body Is of Christ 60

Head of the Church. 60

Head of the Body. 61

At Home in the Body. 62

Responsibilities in the Body. 63

Body Bearing Dying for Life. 63

Body for Yehovah, Not Fornication. 63

Temple of His Body. 65

Preserved Body. 65

Clothing and Food for the Body. 66

Light of the Body. 67

The Torah and the Body. 68

The Dead Body. 68

Eating His Body. 72

The Broken Body. 73

Our Vile Body. 74

Out of Body Experience?. 75

Conclusion. 75

 

 

Introduction

 

In order to discover what church means Biblically, all texts with church or churches were collected and sorted according to the following categories:

 

1. Local Church Assemblies

2. Church Identified As Body of Christ

3. Church Being Israel

4. Other Church Texts

5. Assembly

6. Body of Christ [without church being used]

 

These artificial categories, texts and usages will help us derive acceptations for church. Please read all Biblical texts to see for yourself how the Bible uses it. At the end of each pertinent subsection, I will conclude with what constitutes the church in that section.

 

 

 

 

Local Church Assemblies

 

Church of God

1 Corinthians 1:2 Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours…

 

The expression, Church of God, implies there are churches not of God. Church must carry a generic definition. According to the Thayer’s Lexicon, church holds the following definitions:

 

ekklesia ek-klay-see’-ah

 

1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly

 

1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating

 

1b) the assembly of the Israelites

 

1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously

 

1d) in a Christian sense

 

1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting

 

1d2) a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake

 

1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body

 

1d4) the whole Body of Christians scattered throughout the earth

 

1d5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven

 

The King James Version translates this word two ways:

 

AV: church 115, assembly 3; 118

 

One acceptation refers to the assembly of the Israelites.

 

Using a Biblical term in an unbiblical manner will introduce wrong theology, beclouding every text where it is found. When a Biblical term is used right, the likelihood that truth will be seen and understood greatly increases.

 

The above text, 1 Corinthians 1:2, uses Church of God, showing His ownership (of God) of that local assembly. While the Corinthian church was mainly made of Gentiles, do not assume that no Jews were part. In fact, both theirs and ours demonstrates that Jews (like Paul) were a part of the Church. The above Church consists of a local congregation of Saints.

 

Church in the Lord Jesus

1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians that is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

A Church might be in God the Father without being in the Lord Jesus Christ if its participants fear Yehovah, but have no knowledge of or belief in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). A Jewish, non-Messianic congregation would also be a church since a church is an assembly. The same is true in the next text.

 

1 Thessalonians 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews…

 

These folks became followers of the churches, the congregations being examples to others. The above Church consists of a local congregation of Saints.

 

Churches in Christ

Galatians 1:22 …and [I, Paul] was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ…

 

The text shows a plurality of congregations holding the faith of Messiah in one location. The above Church consists of a local congregation of Saints.

 

Church Responsibility

Philippians 4:15 Now ye Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

 

Congregations doing right voluntarily communicated (participated) in giving and receiving, giving for the needs of others and receiving Saints, making sure their needs were met. Paul was not impressed by the other congregations’ lack of responsiveness. The above Church consists of a local congregation of Saints.

 

Churches are Responsible for Other Churches

2 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.

 

Paul was angered that ministry to the Corinthian congregation had to be at the expense of other congregations that were far poorer. He taught the connection of one congregation to the others. The above Church consists of a local congregation of Saints.

 

Taking Care of the Church of God

1 Timothy 3:5 For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God?

 

One person is usually not capable of taking care of the entire ‘Body of Christ’ (located all over the world), but he can take care of a local assembly if he is called to this responsibility. If he is not capable of ruling his own house, he is not fit to take care of a congregation. (Paul speaks of his own care for all the churches in 2 Corinthians 11:28.) The text does not declare of what the above Church consists, except that it is God’s.

 

Collecting for Poor Saints

1 Corinthians 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.

 

The Churches of Galatia collected for the poor Saints in Jerusalem.

 

1 Corinthians 16:3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.

 

Paul established an order, a way to do this. It was a responsibility, not an elective.

 

Gathering

1 Corinthians 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

 

This Church cannot refer to the Body of Christ, because one does not gather in the Body of Christ, but instead gathers in a congregation, the local assembly.

 

Edifying

1 Corinthians 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church [not churches].

 

Rarely has one person been assigned to edify the entire Body of Christ. Edifying is building and strengthening a building, as a home builder or a skyscraper contractor would do. This text addresses a group (ye is always plural) with the assignment to edify the Church. Are the ye (the Saints in Corinth) supposed to edify their own local group without ministering to the Church in Jerusalem if Jerusalem has a pressing need? Ministerial gifts are intended mainly for local use and needs (I propose). If these folks excel, however, they will be able to edify the Church—the entire Body made of all the churches that hold the faith of Messiah—even if it is only through their example.

 

1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

 

A Psalm (like the Psalms in the ‘Old Testament’) nearly always refers to Israel’s restoration. It is a praise, usually of Yehovah, for what He has done (once it is accomplished), and also gives details of End Times events. A doctrine is a necessary teaching prophetically received from Yehovah. A tongue is a function of prophecy; once it is interpreted, a prophecy has gone forth. A revelation is a prophecy, nearly always pertaining to Israel’s future. An interpretation, when combined with a tongue, is prophetic and understandable by all present. All are given to benefit Israel and all who will hearken. The Church is only strengthened when psalms, doctrines, tongues, revelations and interpretations that are truly from Yehovah and are infallible are communicated in an orderly fashion. (Paul was angry in the above text!)

 

Customs

1 Corinthians 11:16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

 

Churches of God are local assemblies. This text discusses customs, not local church issues. Customs may be employed as long as they do not breed contentions and are not contrary to the Word of Truth. The churches of God have few customs, and each is Biblical and proper. The text does not declare of what the above Church consists. Two groups are mentioned: we and the churches of God. If the we consist of Israelis, the churches of God could refer to congregations of Saints since they are of God. (If the congregations are of Israelis, some will believe and some won’t until the Tribulation has been accomplished.)

 

Understanding

1 Corinthians 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

 

The purposes of assembling are destroyed if unintelligible things are occurring. If the speaker does not understand what he himself is saying, how will he know if an interpretation is correct? Who will judge? If everything that occurs in the congregation is clear and confirmable, much good can be accomplished.

 

1 Corinthians 14:23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

 

Being accused of insanity is not good. Continuing with such practices under the claim of the Spirit of God degrades the Spirit’s reputation. Many like to play this form of religion; Yehovah does not back up this practice.

 

1 Corinthians 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

 

He must first establish or know that an interpreter is present before he starts to speak with his language. If he cannot determine this, it isn’t from Yehovah.

 

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

 

Any congregation practicing something confusing cannot claim Yehovah’s authorship. If a woman desires to learn something from her husband (she is assumed married in this text, due to a question that was raised in a letter from Corinth to Paul), she is to do it at home. If she is asking questions and he is answering while prophecies are being stated, it is a distraction to those in the congregation. Why should her question and his answer cause distractions? She can wait. Yehovah has nothing against women and everything for them. If the men were doing the same thing, the command would be the same. Order is vital for the message to be heard. The above Churches in 1 Corinthians 14 consist of local congregations of Saints.

 

1 Corinthians 14:4 He that speaketh in a tongue edifieth himself, but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

 

What Church (singular) does he edify by prophesying? It must be the Church that hears his words. That will first be the local congregation.

 

‘Old Testament’ prophets spoke of Israel, and Yehovah’s plan involving the congregation of Israel. They told of events to come, what should be done, avoided, and taught how to stand firm in the evil day. Has God changed?

 

Thus, the local congregation learns in order to profit Israel.

 

1 Corinthians 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied. For greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

 

If all were to prophesy, what Church would receive edifying? Won’t Israel and believers benefit from true prophecy?

 

No Charge to the Church

1 Timothy 5:16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.

 

One purpose of the local congregation is to relieve widows. Some will have lost husbands because of their Godliness and witness (martyrdom). Local congregations had a great burden to carry, supplying widows with what they needed. An individual in a family could do far more for his or her widowed relatives, like providing housing that is already present.

 

Establishing the non-Jewish Branches of the Body

Acts 15:41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

 

Acts 16:5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

 

Acts 18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

 

Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

 

I will repeat that these mainly non-Jewish congregations were not necessarily (or likely) devoid of Jews. Some may have had many Jewish participants. Paul’s wording in the four letters (Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians), however, seems to indicate that Jews were few in them. They all had elders, folks who would wisely lead the congregations, just as Israel had elders. The churches’ framework was akin to Israel’s framework. The above Churches in Acts 16:5 consist of local congregations of Saints.

 

Door of Faith unto the Gentiles

Acts 14:27 And when they were come and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how He had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

 

This text is evidence that until this time, the Church and the churches were Jewish. Did a Body of just Believers exist? Wasn’t Abel, a non-Jew, a Believer? Were others Believers, forming a Body? But these Jewish Saints hadn’t realized that both Jews and non-Jews in faith could be one body. The above Church consists of a local congregation of Saints.

 

Acts 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—namely Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren.

 

The whole text must be given. Please read it with great care. It shows the Jewish Church (believers in Yeshua) determining how to respond to newly formed non-Jewish churches.

 

Acts 15:1 And certain men who came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” 2When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 3And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles. And they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 4And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and by the apostles and elders. And they declared all things that God had done with them. 5But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying that it was needful to circumcise them and to command them to keep the Torah of Moses. 6And the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. 7And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up and said unto them, “Men brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8And God, Who knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost even as He did unto us, 9and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved even as they.” 12Then all the multitude kept silence and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. 13And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, “Men brethren, hearken unto me. 14Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His Name. 15And to this agree the words of the prophets as it is written, 16After this I will return and will build again the Tabernacle of David that is fallen down. And I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up 17that the residue of men might seek after Yehovah, and all the Gentiles upon whom my Name is called, saith Yehovah who doeth all these things. 18Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. 19Therefore my sentence is that we trouble them not who from among the Gentiles are turned to God, 20but that we write unto them that they abstain from pollutions of idols and from fornication and from things strangled and from blood. 21For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.” 22Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—namely Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren. 23And they wrote letters by them after this manner: “The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia. 24Forasmuch as we have heard that certain who went out from us have troubled you with words subverting your souls, saying, ‘Ye must be circumcised, and keep the Torah!’ to whom we gave no such commandment, 25it seemed good unto us being assembled with one accord to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26men who have hazarded their lives for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27We have sent therefore Judas and Silas who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 28For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things—29that ye abstain from foods offered to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication, from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.” 30So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch. And when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle 31which, when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation. 32And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words and confirmed them. 33And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles.

 

  • The question of circumcision arose, and the matter was not immediately solved. The apostles and elders at Jerusalem would solve the dissention.
  • The Church supported their journey to find the answer.
  • All the brethren were happy that the Gentiles were being turned to righteousness.
  • A believing sect of the Pharisees thought circumcision and keeping the Torah was necessary for Gentiles. The apostles and elders had not considered this issue before.
  • Peter, not Paul, spoke of his experience, showing that Yehovah had purified their hearts by faith, and the Holy Spirit was given to them making no difference between them and Jewish Believers.
  • Peter stated that being circumcised and keeping the Torah, in order for them to demonstrate faith, was a burden that neither the patriarchs nor the apostles were able to bear. Both Jews and non-Jews obtain Salvation through the grace of the Lord and Messiah Yeshua.
  • Paul and Barnabas next detailed the works of God among the Gentiles through them.
  • James spoke about Simeon’s declaration of Yehovah’s taking out of the Gentiles a people for His Name, referring to the People of Israel. The rest of man can seek after Yehovah once Messiah has come and built the Tent of David, including Gentiles upon whom Yehovah’s Name is called.
  • Yehovah did all these works from the beginning of the world, and He remembers them all.
  • James ruled that only four stipulations should be placed on non-Jewish Saints (besides the stipulations of common righteousness shown by Saints before the Torah was given): abstinence from pollutions of idols (including foods offered to them, Acts 15:29 and items offered to them, Acts 21:25), abstinence from fornication, abstinence from eating strangled animals and abstinence from eating blood. He ruled that the Torah is read in every city, and the rest they could learn from that on the Sabbath day.
  • Letters were dispatched with a number of men, including two prophets who prophesied exhortations and who confirmed the non-Jewish Saints.

Jewish and non-Jewish Saints worked together respecting each other and forming one group. The Jewish Body of Christ recognized that non-Jewish Saints were part of their body. This was a miniature of things to come, since it is very rare in earth’s history. The above Church consists of a local congregation of Saints.

 

Elders in Every Church

Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord on whom they believed.

 

Jewish elders ordained elders (Jewish or non-Jewish?) in these mainly non-Jewish congregations. They then left.

 

Persecution of the Jerusalem Church

Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church that was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

 

Persecution caused dispersal, not destruction.

 

Acts 8:3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

 

Paul attacked the church, sending folks to prison. (That probably did not have the effect he desired!)

 

Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

 

Two characteristics of the churches as whole entities were walking in the fear of Yehovah, and walking in the consolation of the Spirit of Yehovah. They looked to the time when Israel will be saved, and Messiah will return. (The Consolation of Israel is implied, as well as the assuagement of their own personal mourning.)

 

Acts 12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.

 

Acts 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

 

The church is often viewed as a unit, just as is Israel. Congregations were like persons, doing and thinking as one.

 

Thanks to the Churches of the Gentiles

Romans 16:4 …who have for my life laid down their own necks unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

 

Paul referred to non-Jewish congregations of Saints as churches of the Gentiles. He therefore kept them separated in his mind (by the Spirit of Yehovah). The ministry of these churches was unified, coordinated together, in agreement to minister to and work with the churches consisting of Jewish Saints. They were of one mind, yet distinct.

 

Unified Greetings

Romans 16:16 Salute one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

 

The churches are again described as thinking as individuals, and the individual churches send greetings as a group. The above Churches consist of local congregations of Saints.

 

Romans 16:23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.

 

One person can be the host of an entire congregation.

 

Romans 16:27 To God only wise be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. Written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea.

 

One person can be a servant of an entire congregation.

 

More Church Salutes

Romans 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

 

House churches were as much churches as those of larger congregations.

 

Titus 3:15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen. It was written to Titus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Cretians, from Nicopolis of Macedonia.

 

A bishop is an EPISKOPE, episkope, meaning over + observe, watch. He keeps the goal in mind, and watches to make sure it is being pursued in a proper way; he also watches for hazards and dangers. The church in this text is not identified with the location, but with a people: the church of the Cretians. Some churches are identified with locations, others with groups in locations.

 

Church in Jerusalem

Acts 11:22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church that was in Jerusalem. And they sent forth Barnabas that he should go as far as Antioch.

 

A church has ears!

 

Acts 11:25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul. 26And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

 

Barnabas and Saul gathered themselves with the assembly for a year. Antioch was in Syria. The congregation was still distinct, but the two men served the mainly non-Jewish assembly. Many years after Pentecost, when more churches (Jewish and Gentile) are formed, this church in Antioch will be labeled ‘Christian.’

 

Church at Antioch

Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers as Barnabas and Simeon that was called Niger and Lucius of Cyrene and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

 

This congregation is not identified as the church of the Antiochans or the church of Antioch in this text, but is identified by its location.

 

Cenchrean Church

Romans 16:1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church that is at Cenchrea.

 

Consider the privilege of being called a servant of a Godly congregation! (How many pastors could legitimately be classified that way today?)

 

More Churches

Colossians 4:15 Salute the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in his house.

 

The brethren, Nymphas and the Church are being separately greeted.

 

Colossians 4:16 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

 

This church was identified with the Laodiceans. Paul’s letter to the folks at Colossi was also pertinent to this church.

 

Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) 2and all the brethren who are with me, unto the churches of Galatia…

 

More than one congregation existed in Galatia. Paul coauthored this letter with all the brethren for its reading to all Galatia’s congregations.

 

Philemon 1:2 And to our beloved Apphia and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house…

 

Other Texts

1 Corinthians 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

 

Asia is a big place. I don’t know how many churches there were; I suspect that there were more than seven. They sent greetings to the Corinthian congregation.

 

1 Corinthians 4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which are in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.

 

Paul did get around!

 

1 Corinthians 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

 

He was angry in this letter, and especially here. Someone in this congregation had to have sense enough to judge.

 

1 Corinthians 7:17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

 

This section pertains to a Godly person married to an unbeliever. Paul’s ruling went to all the congregations regardless of the cultures in which they were placed.

 

1 Peter 5:13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

 

How would you like to be a member of the Church of Babylon? (It was a Godly congregation.)

 

2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia…

 

2 Corinthians 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

 

Paul had a big load. Yehovah put him in the position of the care of all the congregations. (Why do Roman Catholic leaders think Peter was the first pope?)

 

2 Corinthians 12:13 For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong.

 

Churches were compared or contrasted with other churches.

 

2 Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we want you to know of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.

 

Grace was bestowed on several congregations under intense persecution.

 

2 Corinthians 8:18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches.

 

Someone else was also well traveled!

 

2 Corinthians 8:19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace that is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind…

 

The various churches chose folks to travel and do certain functions. The text does not say how choosing was accomplished. I have never seen a text in which a vote was taken.

 

2 Corinthians 8:23 Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellow helper concerning you, or our brethren be enquired of, they are the apostles of the churches and the glory of Christ.

 

Apostles are missionaries. (Many use a definition that does not fit Biblical usage—especially one about necessarily seeing Jesus.) Titus was an apostle. The above Churches consist of local congregations of Saints.

 

2 Corinthians 8:24 Therefore show ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.

 

Saints and congregations had to prove themselves and their love to other congregations. Paul boasted about them, and he determined that they would fit his boasting!

 

2 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…

 

2 Thessalonians 1:4 …so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure.

 

Churches ‘root’ for other churches and their successes by standing firm against persecutions while being faithful.

 

2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen. The second epistle unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time.

 

The above Churches consist of local congregations of Saints.

 

House of God as the Church of the Living God

1 Timothy 3:15 …but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the House of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

 

This text can be explained by the following texts, if you are willing to take the time:

 

Genesis 28:17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

 

Judges 18:31 And they set them up Micah’s graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

 

Judges 20:18 And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah shall go up first.

 

Judges 20:26 Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

 

Judges 20:31 And the children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to smite of the people, and kill, as at other times, in the highways, of which one goeth up to the house of God, and the other to Gibeah in the field, about thirty men of Israel.

 

Judges 21:2 And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore;

 

1 Chronicles 6:48 Their brethren also the Levites were appointed unto all manner of service of the tabernacle of the house of God.

 

1 Chronicles 9:11 And Azariah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, the ruler of the house of God;

 

1 Chronicles 9:13 And their brethren, heads of the house of their fathers, a thousand and seven hundred and threescore; very able men for the work of the service of the house of God.

 

1 Chronicles 9:26 For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in their set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God.

 

1 Chronicles 9:27 And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge was upon them, and the opening thereof every morning pertained to them.

 

1 Chronicles 22:2 And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God.

 

1 Chronicles 23:28 Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the LORD, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God;

 

1 Chronicles 24:5 Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for the governors of the sanctuary, and governors of the houseofGod, were of the sons of Eleazar, and of the sons of Ithamar.

 

1 Chronicles 25:6 All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the LORD, with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God, according to the king’s order to Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman.

 

1 Chronicles 26:20 And of the Levites, Ahijah was over the treasures of the house of God, and over the treasures of the dedicated things.

 

1 Chronicles 28:12 And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:

 

1 Chronicles 28:21 And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, even they shall be with thee for all the service of the house of God: and there shall be with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skilful man, for any manner of service: also the princes and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment.

 

1 Chronicles 29:7 And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron.

 

2 Chronicles 3:3 Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God. The length by cubits after the first measure was threescore cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits.

 

2 Chronicles 4:11 And Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basons. And Huram finished the work that he was to make for king Solomon for the house of God;

 

2 Chronicles 4:19 And Solomon made all the vessels that were for the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables whereon the shewbread was set;

 

2 Chronicles 5:1 Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished: and Solomon brought in all the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver, and the gold, and all the instruments, put he among the treasures of the house of God.

 

2 Chronicles 5:14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.

 

2 Chronicles 7:5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.

 

2 Chronicles 15:18 And he brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver, and gold, and vessels.

 

2 Chronicles 22:12 And he was with them hid in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land.

 

2 Chronicles 23:3 And all the congregation made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said unto them, Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as the LORD hath said of the sons of David.

 

2 Chronicles 23:9 Moreover Jehoiada the priest delivered to the captains of hundreds spears, and bucklers, and shields, that had been king David’s, which were in the house of God.

 

2 Chronicles 24:7 For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken up the house of God; and also all the dedicated things of the house of the LORD did they bestow upon Baalim.

 

2 Chronicles 24:13 So the workmen wrought, and the work was perfected by them, and they set the house of God in his state, and strengthened it.

 

2 Chronicles 24:27 Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid upon him, and the repairing of the house of God, behold, they are written in the story of the book of the kings. And Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.

 

2 Chronicles 25:24 And he took all the gold and the silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of God with Obededom, and the treasures of the king’s house, the hostages also, and returned to Samaria.

 

2 Chronicles 28:24 And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem.

 

2 Chronicles 31:13 And Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Ismachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah, were overseers under the hand of Cononiah and Shimei his brother, at the commandment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah the ruler of the house of God.

 

2 Chronicles 31:21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.

 

2 Chronicles 33:7 And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:

 

2 Chronicles 34:9 And when they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin; and they returned to Jerusalem.

 

2 Chronicles 35:8 And his princes gave willingly unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites: Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen.

 

2 Chronicles 36:18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon.

 

2 Chronicles 36:19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.

 

Ezra 1:4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.

 

Ezra 2:68 And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place:

 

Ezra 3:8 Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD.

 

Ezra 3:9 Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.

 

Ezra 4:24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

 

Ezra 5:2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

 

Ezra 5:13 But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God.

 

Ezra 5:14 And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;

 

Ezra 5:15 And said unto him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in his place.

 

Ezra 5:16 Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished.

 

Ezra 5:17 Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king’s treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.

 

Ezra 6:3 In the first year of Cyrus the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits;

 

Ezra 6:5 And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God.

 

Ezra 6:7 Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.

 

Ezra 6:8 Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king’s goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered.

 

Ezra 6:12 And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed.

 

Ezra 6:16 And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy,

 

Ezra 6:17 And offered at the dedication of this house of God an hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.

 

Ezra 6:22 And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

 

Ezra 7:24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.

 

Ezra 8:36 And they delivered the king’s commissions unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river: and they furthered the people, and the house of God.

 

Ezra 10:1 Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.

 

Ezra 10:6 Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away.

 

Ezra 10:9 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain.

 

Nehemiah 6:10 Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.

 

Nehemiah 8:16 So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.

 

Nehemiah 11:11 Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, was the ruler of the house of God.

 

Nehemiah 11:16 And Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chief of the Levites, had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God.

 

Nehemiah 11:22 The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha. Of the sons of Asaph, the singers were over the business of the house of God.

 

Nehemiah 12:40 So stood the two companies of them that gave thanks in the house of God, and I, and the half of the rulers with me:

 

Nehemiah 13:7 And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.

 

Nehemiah 13:9 Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.

 

Nehemiah 13:11 Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.

 

Psalms 42:4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

 

Psalms 52:8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.

 

Psalms 55:14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

 

Ecclesiastes 5:1 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

 

Daniel 1:2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

 

Daniel 5:3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

 

Zechariah 7:2 When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the LORD,

 

Matthew 12:4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

 

Mark 2:26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?

 

Luke 6:4 How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?

 

The Temple, the House of God, is always in Israel. The House of God consists of Israelis in the following two texts:

 

Hebrews 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

 

1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

 

Include this text also for consideration:

 

2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye [mainly non-Israelis] are the Temple of the living God; as God hath said [to the Israelis], I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

 

The House of God often refers to the Temple, but not always. It refers to where Yehovah dwells: Beth El, Jerusalem, Nob, Believing Israelis. Us in 1 Peter 4:17 are Israelis. The Church of the Living God in 1 Timothy 3:15 also refers to the Temple, being the Body of Messiah. Judgment begins at the House of God (1 Peter 4:17), with the [Israeli] Saints (who obey the Gospel of God):

 

1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

 

Israel has been assigned to be the pillar and support of Truth, but will only live that way after all Israel will be saved. In the meantime, Jewish Saints will be the first judged.

 

 

 

Church Identified As Body of Christ

 

Messiah as Head of the Body, the Church

Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the Body, the Church—Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the preeminence.

 

Of what does this body consist? From its context, it would seem to be mainly of non-Jewish Saints.

 

Colossians 1:24 …who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His Body’s sake, which is the Church.

 

Messiah’s Body is the Church. (Don’t forget this when you read about His Body broken/given for ‘you.’) Paul gladly tolerated sufferings knowing they benefited the Body of Christ.

 

Ephesians 1:22 And hath put all under His feet, and gave Him the head over all to the church…

 

Yehovah gave Messiah to the Church in the position of headship over all. Has this been fulfilled? (It must be obvious even to an unbeliever that this is the case before one can declare a prophecy as fulfilled.)

 

The Purpose of the Church

Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ 9and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery that hath been hid in God from the beginning of the world—Who created all things by Jesus Christ—10to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be known unto the principalities and powers in heavenlies by the Church 11according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

  • Paul’s assignment was to preach the unsearchable riches of Messiah to the Gentiles.
  • Paul also was assigned to cause all to see what the participation of the mystery is that has been hidden by God from the beginning of the world.
  • This was done so that the principalities and powers in the heavenlies (specifically referring to the demonic hosts, as well as the good angels) might know the multifaceted wisdom of God by means of the Church.
  • Yehovah purposed this from the beginning and throughout time by means of Messiah Yeshua.

 

 

Adding to the Church

Acts 2:47 …praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as are being saved.

 

Yehovah always causes the additions to the Church. While being added to the Church and being saved are not exactly the same thing, this text shows the relationship between the two events. This church cannot refer to unsaved Israel, since the ones being added were already Israelis. The above Church in Jerusalem, gathered for Pentecost, consists of only Jewish Saints.

 

Feeding the Church of God

Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. 18And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, 19Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: 20And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 25And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26Wherefore I take you to record this day that I am pure from the blood of all. 27For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. 32And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

 

  • Messiah purchased this church of God with His own blood.
  • After Paul’s departing, grievous wolves shall enter in among the Jews, and will not spare the flock. Had the flock consisted of folks who were born of God, the dangers would have been different.
  • Men shall arise from the overseers themselves who will speak perverse things in order to draw disciples away after them. The text indicates that they will have success.
  • Paul ends with this: God and the Word of His Grace is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all the sanctified folks. Paul knows that this will be true of some, and not true of the ones who speak perverse things. He is prophesying.

Do these things sound like a description of the Church made only of Saints? If not, this group is certainly made of Israelis, and after the Tribulation has been completed, all Israel will be saved. {Elaine’s reply: “I do not see the timing of Paul’s prophecy as being tied to Tribulation. He is addressing the churches at Ephesus about events to occur soon and after his death. I need more proof.”}

 

Ministry Varieties and Ranks in the Church

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

 

An apostle (as mentioned above) is a missionary, one who is sent. A prophet is one who quotes Yehovah/Messiah straight from His Spirit, giving His exact wording. A false prophet is one who errs even one time while communicating (or claiming to communicate) the Words of Yehovah. An example of an apostle is Moses, a prophet is King David, a teacher is Ezra, a worker of miracles is Elijah, gifts of healings is also Elijah, helps (perception, taking hold of) is Bezaleel, governments is King David, diversities of tongues—I could find no example of this. I don’t remember any prophet having difficulty communicating with folks in other cultures; Jonah certainly had no difficulty. Yehovah gave all these gifts to the Church (congregation) of Israel. If the Body of Christ is the present set of Christian churches (as of 2009), why are real forms of the gifts so rare? If one applies the lowest possible standards of judging whether gifts are real and from God, all the gifts are active and working just fine. An honest appraisal only brings contrast with the Biblically described examples. The verse above presents these gifts as if they are a normal part of the normal Church. Is Paul speaking of a future, prophesied truth? Is this describing the Tribulation’s norms?

 

1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God.

 

Paul teaches that ranks exist. He persecuted the Church of God, and was later given the assignment to greatly build and establish many congregations. The Church of God he persecuted consisted of Jewish Saints and folks associated with them, whether Saints or not. He never had much interest in persecuting Gentiles for perceived violations of the Torah (from what little can be gathered from texts about him).

 

Putting Fear into the Church

Acts 5:11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

 

This statement came after the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira. The church that feared consisted mainly of Jewish Saints, though some Jewish non-Saints could have been involved. I found no evidence that Gentiles were involved. The folks who were not in the church who heard these things and feared were also Jewish.

 

Glory of Messiah in the Church

Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21unto Him be glory in the Church in Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

 

Yehovah will receive the importance (glory) in the Church in Messiah Yeshua in the Millennium. He has little importance in this world at the present time. Folks in other religions can live their entire lives ignoring Him and His relation to the creation and sustenance of the earth. Folks who claim to be Christians include many who ‘worship’ and give importance to another god as foreign to the Bible as Baal. This text is prophetic. Us (verse 20) are the Israelis (prove me wrong!). What could this Church be? (I will present drawings later that show the parts of the Church.)

 

Persecuting and Wasting the Church

Galatians 1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the Church of God, and wasted it.

 

Philippians 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the Church; touching the righteousness which is in the Torah, blameless.

 

Paul did not mention his persecution of individuals, but saw the Church as a unit. He recognized that persecuting one member of the Church was the same as persecuting the Church. Was he harming Israel at this time? He was doing his best to keep Israel from the faith of Yeshua! He put fear into every Israeli who might consider Yeshua’s credentials.

 

 

Church Being Israel

 

When the Church is Israel

Acts 7:38 This is he [Moses] who was in the church in the wilderness with the Angel Who spoke to him in Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, who received the lively oracles to give unto us…

 

This church is the congregation of Israel. The angel who spoke to him (Moses) was the Angel Yehovah, Messiah Himself. If all the ‘Old Testament’ congregation and assembly texts were added to this document, it would more than double in size, but would still refer to the church.

 

Church of the Firstborn

Hebrews 12:18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: 20(For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake!) 22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. 25See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that is from heaven!

 

The first set describes to what they had not come:

 

  • The mountain that might be touched, refers to Mount Sinai when the Torah was given. Anyone or any animal who touched that mountain would be killed.
  • The mountain burned with fire from Yehovah portraying His character as a consuming fire.
  • They are not come unto blackness describes the smoke of the fire that allowed no light to penetrate.
  • They are not come unto darkness describes how the entire area around Sinai became very dark as if a powerful storm were about to arrive.
  • They are not come unto tempest describes the great winds and lightnings that accompanied the Mount Sinai event.
  • They are not come unto the sound of a trumpet describes what the Israelis heard from the mountain, its volume very intense.
  • They are not come unto the voice of words describes the thunders the Israelis heard that characterized Yehovah’s speaking, though to Moses the words were perfectly intelligible.

 

The next part describes unto what they are come:

 

  • They are come unto Mount Zion. But this Mount Zion is Millennial, since at the time of Paul’s writing Mount Zion was a small hill to which few gathered. The future Mount Zion will be a huge mountain.
  • They are come unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. This is likewise Millennial, for this city will be translocated at Messiah’s coming. (This is not the same as New Jerusalem.) It is the city of the living God, because He is dwelling there in person.
  • They are come to an innumerable company of angels (messengers, referring to either angelic beings or to Saints who have been sent on errands throughout history). I suppose these messengers to be the cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12:1. They are only come to these folks when Messiah returns and sets up the Millennial kingdom, else they are dead! (That’s the only way to get to the heavenly Jerusalem before it comes to earth.)
  • They are come to the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn who are written in the heavens, again describing resurrected folks having returned in the Millennium. Since firstborn and firstfruits are the same in Hebrew, firstfruits texts apply:

Romans 8:23 And not only but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

 

Our Body refers to the Body of Israelis, since the pronoun our refers to the Israelis.

 

Romans 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, become the firstfruits of them that slept.

 

1 Corinthians 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

 

1 Corinthians 16:15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)

 

James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

 

The book of James is written to Jewish folk.

 

Revelation 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

 

These texts tend toward Jewish Saints being firstfruits or firstborn of Messiah’s creation (re-read James 1:18 above keeping ‘us‘ in mind).

 

  • They are come to God the Judge of all, Who will judge just before the Millennium.
  • They are come to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, having their incorruptible and immortal bodies. I suppose this text appeals to the following:

Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

 

Hebrews 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope by which we draw nigh unto God.

 

Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

 

Hebrews 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

 

Made perfect, therefore, refers to anything or anyone who obtains the goal and final state that the creator and designer determined. That will occur near the end of the Tribulation for Israel, the resurrection of the dead Saints at the end of the Tribulation, and the Millennium when all Israel will be only righteous.

 

  • They are come to Yeshua, the Mediator of the New Covenant, which Covenant will be in placetoward the end of the Tribulation just before the Millennium.
  • They are come to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than Abel, Messiah’s blood shown in the restored sacrifices (again, during the Millennium).

All these texts tell to what they have come, not where they have arrived.

 

All the above texts are used to propose that Hebrews 12:23’s Church of the Firstborn refers to Israeli Saints, with the addition of the spirits of righteous men made perfect added to it, referring also to non-Jewish Saints.

 

Those written in the heavens are written in the stars. The same information is what the wise men read who came to visit Yeshua. They knew Israel was the place to come and see the Messiah, and they knew of the Israelis’ position in the plan of God. This also gives evidence that these texts refers to the Israelis.

 

Messiah is sometimes the object of firstborn texts. Firstborn above is plural:

 

Numbers 8:17 For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.

 

Psalm 89:20 I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: 21With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him. 22The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 23And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. 24But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted. 25I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. 26He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. 27Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. 28My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. 29His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.

 

Isaiah 14:29 Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent. 30And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in safety: and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant.

 

Jeremiah 31:9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

 

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

 

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

 

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

 

Hebrews was written to Jews.

 

Hebrews 2:12 Saying, I will declare Thy Name unto my brethren. In the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto thee.

 

This church is the congregation of Israel, and this is a quote from a psalm:

 

Psalms 22:22 I will declare Thy Name unto my brethren. In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

 

Church is used in the same manner in the following text:

 

James 5:14 Is any sick among you? He shall call for the elders of the Church, and they shall pray over him anointing him with oil in the Name of Yehovah.

 

James wrote to the Jews:

 

James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes that are scattered abroad: greeting.

 

These texts demonstrate that church and congregation (or assembly) are equivalent, referring in these cases to Israel.

 

The Unclean, Unholy Church As Messiah’s Wife

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the Church, and He is the Saviour of the Body. 24Therefore as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her 26that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27that He might present her to Himself a glorious church—not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and perfect. 28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it even as the Lord the Church. 30For we are members of His Body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife. And they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery—but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.

 

The text, Christ also loved the Church and gave himself for her that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, shows Messiah’s act before Pentecost. This Church was unholy and unclean, and Messiah’s sacrifice would sanctify (make her owned by Him instead of unowned, profane) and cleanse her (she was unclean) by the washing of water by the Word (referring to the Torah):

 

Ezekiel 36:22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Yehovah, I don’t do this for your sakes, House of Israel, but for my holy Name’s sake that ye have profaned among the races where ye went. 23And I will sanctify my great Name that was profaned among the races—that ye have profaned in the midst of them. And the races shall know that I am Yehovah, saith the Lord Yehovah, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the races and will gather you out of all countries and will bring you into your own land. 25And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean. From all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes. And ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers. And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29I will also save you from all your uncleannesses. And I will call for the grain, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the races. 31And ye shall remember your own evil ways and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord Yehovah—be it known unto you! Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, House of Israel!

 

Two texts follow showing the washing effect of the water of the Word:

 

Psalms 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.

 

John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the Word that I have spoken unto you.

 

The unclean Church will be rendered clean. Messiah will present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that she should be holy and perfect. This Church is spotted. In the following text, spots and blemishes represent great evil:

 

2 Peter 2:12 But these, as natural stupid animals made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not, and shall utterly perish in their own corruption. 13And they shall receive the reward of unrighteousness as they who count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you, 14having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable souls. They have a heart exercised with covetous practices—cursed children—15who have forsaken the right way and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor who loved the wages of unrighteousness 16but was rebuked for his iniquity. The dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. 17These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest —to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

 

If this Church has spots and blemishes, she has evil, though Messiah is her head and He died for her. Ephesians 5 describes the Congregation of Israel, but at the same time the ‘Body of Christ’ (that some supposed began at Pentecost). Who in her right mind would say, “I want to be a Christian! I want to join myself with that unholy, unclean, sin-tainted body with Messiah at the head”?

 

Why does the Ephesians text declare, Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her, thus relating it to the cross? If the Church started at Pentecost, how did He love her? Was this in advance of her being formed? That makes no sense. Messiah died for Israel’s redemption and Salvation (Israel being a Body, the Church), as well as the sins of the world.

 

The text also stated, For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Who can say we are members of Messiah’s flesh and bones? Israelis alone fit all these descriptions: the Body of Messiah, His flesh and bones; they are for the most part unholy, yet will be holy; they are unclean like the world, yet will be clean; they are spotted and blemished, even while being the light of the world, but will give that light in all its glory.

 

How do non-Jewish believers fit into this Body of Christ? They become part of the tree as Romans 11 describes (see the graphic at the end), and their desire will be Israel’s coming to faith, thus rendering this Body holy, righteous and perfect.

 

 

Other Church Texts

 

Messiah’s Church Building

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of Sheol shall not prevail against her.

 

Messiah promised to build His Church on a rock unnamed in this verse. The next text may give a clue:

 

1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

 

Messiah recognized the Church as His. He said He would build it, not the same as birthing it.

 

Matthew 18:17 uses church as if it is already in place:

 

Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell unto the church.

 

This church is not a building (the Gates of Sheol are no threat to buildings), but consists of persons. The Gates of Sheol are on earth:

 

Isaiah 38:10 I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of Sheol. I am deprived of the residue of my years.

 

Proverbs 7:27 Her house is the way to Sheol (referring to an evil woman seducing folks).

 

If the Gates of Sheol will not prevail against these folks, they will arise in the Resurrection or before. (I do not forget Ezekiel 37’s resurrection of the House of Israel back to mortality and faith.)

 

The Church in Contrast to Gentiles

Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell unto the church. But if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

 

This church either existed before Pentecost or it will be a future assembly of folks, and Messiah is prophesying. I have seen no record of chapter 18’s events occurring, so I view it is a future event.

 

Heathen is the same as Gentile, meaning non-Jewish races. The text addresses a strictly Jewish congregation. Treating one as a Gentile and a publican is excommunication. While Gentiles who become Believers will be in the Church during the Tribulation, Messiah is not speaking to a Believing Church, but is using Church in the same way as assembly and congregation are used in the ‘Old Testament.’

 

[I have not found texts indicating that the Church will be permanently removed at the Rapture, though all Saints up to that time will be gathered to Messiah.]

 

Church Bully

3 John 1:10 Therefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds that he doeth, prating against us with malicious words—and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church!

 

An evil man named Diotrephes bullied the entire congregation over which he gained control, excommunicating all Saints. This is a Jewish congregation, not a Christian church.

 

A Pagan Church

Acts 19:37 For ye have brought hither these men who are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.

 

This church is a pagan temple Saints were falsely accused of robbing. This is not the same Greek word for church used elsewhere, being IEROSULON, hierosulos meaning Temple robber.

 

 

 

The Seven Churches: Introduction

 

The seven churches of the initial Revelation chapters do not easily match any other churches listed in the Bible except in name. Each one will be considered in its full text.

 

Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you and peace from Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven Spirits Who are before His throne.

 

Revelation 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, and what thou seest, write in a book and send it unto the seven churches that are in Asia—unto Ephesus and unto Smyrna and unto Pergamos and unto Thyatira and unto Sardis and unto Philadelphia and unto Laodicea.

 

Revelation 1:19 Write the things that thou hast seen and the things that are and the things that shall be hereafter, 20the mystery of the seven stars that thou sawest in my right hand and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the messengers of the seven churches, and the seven candlesticks that thou sawest are the seven churches.

 

The first clues to these churches are given above. What John saw was in three tenses: what was, is and will be.

 

The Seven Churches: Ephesus

Revelation 2:1 Unto the messenger of the church of Ephesus write, “These things saith He Who holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, Who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks—2I know thy works and thy labour and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them who are evil. And thou hast tried them who say they are apostles and are not, and hast found them liars. 3And thou hast borne and hast endurance, and for my name’s sake hast laboured and hast not fainted. 4Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee because thou hast left thy first love. 5Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works or else I will come unto thee quickly and will remove thy candlestick out of his place except thou repent. 6But this thou hast that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans which I also hate. 7He who hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life that is in the midst of the paradise of God.”

 

The following is a listing of commendations:

 

  • Works
  • Labour
  • Endurance
  • Not bearing evil folk
  • Testing false apostles
  • Bearing
  • Endurance
  • Labour
  • Not fainting

The first love is Works at the top of the list. Study the list. It goes up, then down on almost the same items. Why isn’t faith mentioned? What kind of a pastor is the messenger of this congregation? What constitutes his congregation (church)? ‘Candlesticks’ are the churches. If the candlestick is removed out of his place, Yehovah will cause this church to be exiled or dispersed—because of its messenger’s behaviour!

 

Jewish populations have been forced off lands where they resided at various times in history because they followed leaders who taught them error. Yehovah is threatening the entire congregation based on the actions of the messenger alone!

 

Who are the Nicolaitans? I have not heard anyone’s ideas of a historical group that fits this description, accompanied by evidence strong enough that I buy it. If this is a future event, the Nicolaitans will be a future group.

 

Messiah then called to any individuals having ears, telling them to hearken to what Yehovah the Spirit says to the churches. Faith comes by hearkening. Hearkening comes by the Word of God. Anyone truly hearkening (believing and listening very carefully to it, including doing what it says if it has commands for the person) can be a recipient of faith.

 

Eating of the tree of the life is Salvation.

 

This church text commands the messenger to return to the original works. If he doesn’t, he will cause the entire congregation to go into exile! Is this Christian church theology?

 

The Seven Churches: Smyrna

Revelation 2:8 And unto the messenger of the church in Smyrna, write: “These things saith the First and the Last Who was dead and is alive, 9I know thy works and tribulation and poverty—but thou art rich! And I know the blasphemy of them who say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10Fear none of those things that thou shalt suffer. Behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried. And ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11He who hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches! He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”

 

The Hope of the resurrection is immediately introduced (Who was dead and is alive). This messenger’s list of attributes are:

 

  • Works
  • Tribulation
  • Poverty, being rich

Messiah also mentions a blaspheming group claiming to be Jews who are not Jewish. They are typical adherents of Replacement Theology (the teaching that Israel has been set aside, and a non-Jewish potpourri of Saints has taken Israel’s place—a teaching widely held in many ways in traditional fundamental/conservative churches). If they are blaspheming, they must be saying very insulting or untrue things about Yehovah (like His Covenant with literal, physical Israelis has been abrogated, and He now has a Covenant with Christians that replaces it). These Gentile liars are great trouble to this church. Members of this church will have a ten-day period of tribulation that will include a slaughter, and the messenger will suffer many things, finally being killed: Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. This information will give stamina to the messenger and to others in this Church who suffer this intense persecution.

 

The crown of life is elsewhere mentioned:

 

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

 

The crown of life is Salvational, is it not? How can one obtain Salvation by enduring temptation? Is this not Salvation by works? But the text does not say he will receive the crown of life because of his works, but rather by promise. Salvation is by Grace, but the Grace of God does not eliminate Him from making promises of Salvation to whomever He desires.

 

Obedience and love are directly linked in the Scriptures:

 

John 14:21 He who hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is who loveth me. And he who loveth me shall be loved by my Father. And I will love him and will manifest myself to him.

 

No one can truly say, “I love God!” while disobeying His commandments. If Yehovah promises a crown of life, He will do it by His Grace.

 

This text also ends with a call for individuals with an ear to hearken to what Yehovah the Spirit says to these churches. The overcomer will not be hurt by the second death. This is also a promise of everlasting life (Salvation). Faith is not mentioned in this text. Overcoming pertains to temptation:

 

Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

 

The Seven Churches: Pergamos

Revelation 2:12 And to the messenger of the church in Pergamos, write: “These things saith He Who hath the sharp sword with two edges, 13I know thy works and where thou dwellest—even where Satan’s seat is! And thou holdest fast my Name, and hast not denied my faith even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr who was slain among you where Satan dwelleth. 14But I have a few things against thee because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel—to eat things sacrificed unto idols and to commit fornication. 15So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans which thing I hate. 16Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth! 17He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches! To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone. And in the stone is a new name written that no man knoweth saving he that receiveth.”

 

This sharp sword is used for deadly purposes: I will come unto thee quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth!

 

This congregation’s messenger has the following attributes:

 

  • Works
  • Where he dwells (Satan’s seat)
  • Holding fast Messiah’s Name
  • Not denying Messiah’s faith

The messenger of this church is making two great errors: not excluding folks with the doctrine of evil Balaam who taught the Israelis to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication, and not excluding folks who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. If this messenger doesn’t turn and do something about these folks, Messiah will come quickly unto him, and will attack these folks with the sword of His mouth! (Much blood will be shed!) This never historically happened. Who are these evil unbelievers that are part of this church?

 

While the messenger has not denied Messiah’s faith and has held to His Name, he has not taken necessary stands. What kind of an assembly is this?

 

The hidden manna is also Salvational. Anyone with a hearkening ear for what Yehovah the Spirit is saying to the churches, and who overcomes, will obtain Salvation. The white stone is Messiah’s vote for the person!

 

The Seven Churches: Thyatira

Revelation 2:18 And unto the messenger of the church in Thyatira, write: “These things saith the Son of God Who hath His eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine copper, 19I know thy works and love and service and faith and thy patience and thy works, and the last to be more than the first. 20Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel who calleth herself a prophetess to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21And I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented not. 22Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation except they repent of their deeds. 23And I will kill her children with death. And all the churches shall know that I am He Who searcheth the reins and hearts. And I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira—as many as have not this doctrine and ‘have not known the depths of Satan,’ as they speak, I will put upon you none other burden 25but that which ye already have. Hold fast till I come. 26And he who overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations! 27And he shall rule them with a rod of iron. As the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers even as I received of my Father. 28And I will give him the morning star. 29He who hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 

This text directly identifies Messiah as the Son of God; the others didn’t. His eyes like a flame of fire and feet like fine copper demonstrate His fury, vengeance and doing justice against enemies.

 

The attributes of this messenger are:

 

  • Works
  • Love
  • Service
  • Faith
  • Endurance
  • Works

The last works are more than the first. The messenger is permitting a false prophetess to teach and seduce Yehovah’s servants into fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. Yehovah gave the woman opportunity and time to repent, and she didn’t. When Yehovah casts her into bed, it won’t be to have sex. Folks who have committed adultery with her (not the same as fornication!) will be cast into great tribulation. Her children will be targeted by Death (who later rides the horse, traveling throughout the earth). This killing will cause all the churches to know that Messiah is the One who searches reigns (kidneys, where one’s strength tends to concentrate) and hearts (minds).

 

The threat/promise, I will give unto every one of you according to your works, should terrify the hearers (plural—the messenger and members of the church).

 

Folks not holding evil doctrines and not knowing the depths of Satan, holding fast till Messiah comes (a blatant reference to the end of the Tribulation, exposing the timing of all these events), will be doing right.

 

Who overcomes and guards Yehovah’s works unto the end of the Tribulation?

 

The Seven Churches: Sardis

Revelation 3:1 And unto the messenger of the church in Sardis write, “These things saith He Who hath the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, I know thy works—that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead! 2Be watchful and strengthen the remnant—that are ready to die! For I have not found thy works perfect before God. 3Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast and repent! If, therefore, thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee! 4Thou hast a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5He who overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment. And I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

 

The seven Spirits of God are listed in the first part of Isaiah 11. This church’s messenger has a reputation for being alive, but he is dead. He is commanded to do the following:

 

  • Be watchful
  • Strengthen the remnant—those who are ready to die
  • Remember how he received
  • Remember how he heard
  • Hold fast
  • Repent

Holding fast implies grasping. If he remembers how he received and heard, he will know to what he must hold.

 

The Torah gives light unto repentance.

 

He is being threatened with destruction (if Messiah comes as a thief, it is to destroy the ungodly as 1 Thessalonians 5 describes). Apart from the messenger and the majority of folks in this church, a few names have not defiled their garments (of righteousness). The others will have their names blotted out of the book of life (damnation guaranteed). What kind of church is this?

 

The Seven Churches: Philadelphia

Revelation 3:7 And to the messenger of the church in Philadelphia, write: “These things saith He Who is holy, He Who is true, He Who hath the key of David, He Who openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, 8I know thy works! Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it. For thou hast a little strength and hast kept my word and hast not denied my name. 9Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie—behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet and to know that I have loved thee 10because thou hast kept the word of my patience. I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation that shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11Behold, I come quickly! Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out. And I will write upon him the Name of my God and the name of the city of my God which is new Jerusalem that cometh down out of heaven from my God. And I will write upon him my new Name. 13He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

 

Messiah is described as the following:

 

  • Holy
  • True
  • Having the Key of David
  • Opening, no man shutting
  • Shutting, no man opening
  • Knowing

The first item He identifies is the messenger’s works. He then reveals an opportunity: the open door. The attributes of this messenger are:

 

  • Works
  • Strength
  • Keeping His Word
  • Not denying His Name
  • Keeping the Word of His endurance

Messiah will force liars falsely claiming to be Jews to worship before this messenger’s feet. This is not historical. Anything the Bible prophesies must be publicly fulfilled. No Biblical prophecy is for private use:

 

2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.

 

No Biblical or public fulfillment was recorded, so it hasn’t happened.

 

What event will come upon the entire world, trying them that dwell upon the earth? This describes the future Tribulation. This messenger must be alive during this future time, and is therefore not a historical figure.

 

Who is this who overcomes and becomes a pillar in the Temple of Yehovah, who never goes out of the Temple? Look at the names written upon him!

 

The Seven Churches: Laodicea

Revelation 3:14 And unto the messenger of the church of the Laodiceans, write: “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God, 15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17Because thou sayest, ‘I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing!’ and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear. And anoint thine eyes with eye salve that thou mayest see. 19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me. 21To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

 

Messiah’s descriptions include

  • The Amen
  • The Faithful Witness
  • The True Witness
  • The beginning of Yehovah’s Creation
  • The knower of this church’s works

If this messenger is spewed out of Messiah’s mouth, what is his Salvational status? Messiah has nothing good to say about him. He warns, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. If this messenger is not being chastened, he is not loved.

 

Messiah then gives a strange invitation: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me. What chamber does this door serve? Why is Messiah knocking? Why doesn’t the text say, “If any man hear my knocking…”? What is the purpose of this meal? Who is this overcomer who will sit with Messiah in His throne?

 

The seven Churches do not correlate to Church history (as some errantly teach). They are real, future, and very important to Israel and the plan of God.

 

Revelation 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

 

Which churches does Messiah have in mind? Aren’t these the churches mentioned in the beginning of Revelation?

 

 

 

Assembly

 

The Greek word usually translated church was sometimes translated assembly, as the following demonstrate.

 

Diana’s Assembly

Acts 19:22 So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season. 23And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. 24For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen 25whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation. And he said, “Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. 26Moreover ye see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia this Paul hath persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods that are made with hands 27so that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at naught, but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised and her magnificence should be destroyed whom all Asia and the world worshippeth!” 28And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” 29And the whole city was filled with confusion. And having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. 30And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. 31And certain of the chief of Asia who were his friends sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre. 32Some therefore cried one thing, and some another, for the assembly was confused. And the majority knew not why they were come together.

 

This assembly consisted of idolaters, not Saints. The text continues including the following two verses where the same word usually rendered church is rendered as shown:

 

Acts 19:39 But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.

 

Acts 19:41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

 

 

 

Body Of Christ

 

Some texts do not use church, but refer to the Body (Body of Christ). The following texts show they are equivalent:

 

Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the Body, the Church—Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the preeminence.

 

Colossians 1:24 …who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His Body’s sake, which is the Church.

 

Texts referring to the Body must therefore be included in this discussion.

 

Only One Body

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called 2with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love, 3endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all Who is above all and through all and in you all. 7But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8Therefore He saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9(Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11And He gave some apostles and some prophets and some evangelists and some pastors and teachers 12for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ 13until we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14that we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive, 15but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, Who is the head—even Christ 16from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

 

Verse 11 mentions a vocation (singular) the ye are to walk. What is this group vocation (calling)? Unity is vital along with the standards of the Spirit of Yehovah.

 

Paul’s initial address is to the ye, to the Ephesian Saints. He beseeches them to walk worthy and to keep the unity of the Spirit. He then compares this with the unity of the body and Spirit, again comparing the unity with:

  • One Hope of their calling
  • One Lord
  • One faith
  • One baptism
  • One God
  • One Father Who is above, through and among them all.

 

Paul then turns the focus by changing the pronouns: Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. He didn’t say, “unto every one of you.” He continued referring to the experiences of the Israelis, showing that Yehovah gave some individuals the gift of apostle, others prophet, others evangelist, others pastor, others teacher, others a combination of some of these, others many other things, and others little. All the gifts He gave are for the perfecting of the Saints, the work of the ministry, and the edifying of the Body of Messiah until we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

 

Who are the we? All (true) Saints await the time that Israel becomes righteous, coming in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, perfect, measuring up to the stature of the fullness of Messiah, no longer children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men, etc.!

 

Until that time, the Israelis will still be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive. The increase in the body and its edifying itself in love describes the responsibility (among other things) of non-Jewish Saints to minister the truth to Jewish unbelievers (in ways that are Biblical, and not according to the modern evangelistic means of ‘Churchianity’).

 

One Body

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one Body; and be ye thankful.

 

Is that one Body part of the Body of Jewish Saints? Is that one Body present and obvious today? All things that ever have been fufilled have always been obviously and openly fulfilled.

 

Jewish and non-Jewish Saints in One Body

Ephesians 2:14 For He is our peace Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition 15having abolished in His flesh the enmity (the law of commandments in ordinances) for to make in himself of twain one new man, making peace, 16and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby, 17and came and preached peace to you which were afar off and to them that were nigh. 18For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints and of the household of God, 20and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone 21in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy Temple in the Lord 22in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

 

This text defines the relationship between Jewish and non-Jewish Saints, and how they will come to be in one Body out of two: Who hath made both one. A middle wall of partition existed, much like the cloud that separated the Egyptian army from the Israelis after they had left Egypt. The middle wall was made of enmity due to an improper Jewish view of responsibilities toward Gentiles through misunderstanding the Torah (law of commandments in ordinances), and an improper Gentile view of the baseness and arrogance of Torah worship among Jews. Both groups did wrong due to vile prejudices.

 

While the text sounds like it is historical in nature, it is future, since this has never happened. Many prophecies that are future in time are recorded in the past tense.

 

Messiah will make in Himself one new man out of two by making peace. He will reconcile both to God in one body. He will slay the enmity.

 

The next statement also has a future-sounding fulfillment: Messiah came and preached peace to the Ephesians and the Gentiles who were very distant. Messiah did not preach to the Gentiles in His first coming:

 

Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

 

Since this has not happened, it must be future. He will also preach peace to those who are nigh. He did this before, but that does not eliminate His doing it again.

 

Access for Jewish and non-Jewish folks to Yehovah the Father is through the Messiah and by one Spirit.

 

By this means, Gentiles who come to faith in the Salvation of Israel (Yeshua) are no longer strangers and foreigners, but are fellowcitizens with the Saints and are of the household (kin) of God. They are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets of the ‘Old Testament’ (including Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), part of the building in which Messiah Yeshua Himself is the keystone of the Temple, a place for Yehovah to reside by the Spirit of Yehovah. The basic foundation was laid at the beginning, Avraham, Isaac and Jacob being key elements to this foundation.

 

Ephesians 3:1 For this cause I Paul, am the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles 2(if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me toward you 3how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery as I wrote before in few words 4whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ 5that in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit 6that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same Body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel) 7whereof I was made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

 

This text explains how Paul was given the Gospel that believing Gentiles would be fellowheirs, of the same body and partakers of His promise (of the Spirit). Examine it closely.

 

  • The Gentiles (who believe) will be fellowheirs. With whom? With the Jews—with Israel. The promise does not include ownership of the Land of Israel or any other of the various promises in the Covenant made with Avraham except the promise of the Spirit of Yehovah and the resurrection. The races have their own blessings they will receive.
  • The Gentiles (who believe) will be of the same Body. What Body? It must have already been established in other ages. This single body must have already been made of Jews and non-Jews who believe, but its singleness was not made known unto the sons of men as the Spirit reveals it now. Just because it was not so blatantly revealed does not mean it did not exist, but until it is made open and plain, it is not fulfilled. Numerous texts in the ‘Old Testament’ testify to a body made of Jews and non-Jews, including events with Rahab and Ruth. Avraham was not exactly Jewish!
  • The Gentiles (who believe) shall be partakers of His promise in Messiah. The Promise can be one of the two following (or both if they are one):

Galatians 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

 

2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus…

 

The text assumes a continuance of the Body of Christ from other ages. Like the Kingdom of God/heaven, however, its existence does not mean that it has come to earth as a fulfillment.

 

Many Members in One Body

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice—holy, acceptable unto God, your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3For I say to every man that is among you through the grace given unto me not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4For as we have many members in one Body, and all members have not the same office…

 

Paul uses bodies when necessary (12:1). Non-Jewish Saints must present their bodies as a living sacrifice (singular), as a service (singular), willingly giving of themselves and themselves for the salvation of others. This is only reasonable, since Messiah gave Himself for their Salvation. Verse 2 shows that these Romans have one mind (singular), and it must be made new.

 

The Body, not individuals, is always foremost in Biblical texts. Individuals are discussed in their relation to the group. The behaviour of one affects all. If an individual does not fulfill his responsibility to the group, he becomes arrogant (verse 3), sometimes causing many to die. Verse 4 declares that the many (Jews and non-Jewish Saints) are one Body in Messiah. Paul in Romans shows Jewish responsibility to non-Jewish folks and vice versa.

 

Body

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2Absolutely not! How shall we who are dead to sin live any longer therein? 3Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? 4Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be of the resurrection, 6knowing this—that our old man is crucified with Him that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more. Death hath no more dominion over Him. 10For in that He died, He died unto sin once. But in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin. But yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14For sin shall not have dominion over you! For ye are not under the law, but under grace.

 

Who is this old man (verse 6)? Our is plural, and old man singular. The text is not referring to individuals, else it would have been worded, “Knowing this, that our old men are crucified…”

 

Verse 3 identifies the group by saying, “…that so many of us.” He was referring to Israelis, else he would have said, “Know ye not that so many of you as were baptized…” After using us and we (verse 11), he states, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin,” thereby including the Romans.

 

If our are Israelis, old man is the Body of Israel. This Body is not yet righteous. Messiah will purge out the old leaven by force if the Israelis do not do so voluntarily, and He will destroy the sinful body of Israel, leaving the righteous Body, the Israeli remnant.

 

This text is universally viewed as referring to individual Christians, but the text’s pronouns do not allow this.

 

Once Israel is righteous, the body of sin will be destroyed out of Israel. Were this referring to individuals, it would have been worded this way: “…that the bodies of sin might be destroyed…” which would cause death; individuals would lose their bodies. From erroneous theology has come the notion of duel natures, the idea that one who is born of God has a new creature and an old man of sin that are in constant war with one another, one winning at one time, the other winning at others. This view eliminates victory over sin.

 

Once the sin is removed from the Body of Israel and the New Birth cancels the power of sin, being born from above (from Jerusalem that is free—Galatians 4:26), Israel will be freed from sin.

 

Verse 11 deals with individual Roman Church hearers who must view themselves as dead and thus freed from sin (living accordingly!), yet alive unto God via the Messiah. They are also part of a body, as verse 12 shows: Let not sin therefore reign in your (plural) mortal body (singular).

 

Why is this body described as mortal? The entire body of Roman Saints is a physical, mortal group, and the entire group is capable of dying (mortal). Sin kills. If sin reigns in this group, the whole group will die. Every group or body (Jewish, non-Jewish or mixed) with a reasonable claim of loyalty to Messiah that lets sin reign in it will eventually be physically destroyed. Such a threat does not hang over other groups.

 

Body Members

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body—whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free—and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14For the Body is not one member, but many. 15If the foot shall say, “Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body!” is it therefore not of the body? 16And if the ear shall say, “Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body!” is it therefore not of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18But now hath God set the members every one of them in the Body as it hath pleased Him. 19And if they were all one member, where were the Body? 20But now are they many members, yet but one Body. 21And the eye cannot say unto the hand, “I have no need of thee!” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you!” 22Nay, much more those members of the Body that seem to be more feeble are necessary, 23and those members of the body that we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour, and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24For our comely parts have no need. But God hath tempered the Body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked 25that there should be no schism in the Body, but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now ye are the Body of Christ, and members in particular. 28And God hath set some in the church—first, apostles, secondarily, prophets, thirdly, teachers, after that, miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31But covet earnestly the best gifts.

 

Jews and Gentiles baptized into the Body of Christ by the Spirit of God are one Body. This text describes the way Yehovah arranged Israel, including apostles like Moses, prophets like Isaiah, governments like King David, etc. Many theologically and practically exclude Israel from the Body. Does this mean that Yehovah sees it that way? Consider doctrines of nearly all Christian denominations to see that they teach Israel’s joining them to become right with God! How arrogant! They violate the blatant teachings of Romans 11!

 

Body Is of Christ

Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in food or in drink or in respect of a holyday or of the new moon or of the sabbath days 17which are a shadow of things to come, but the Body is of Christ. 18Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things that he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind 19and not holding the Head (from which all the Body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered and knit together increaseth with the increase of God). 20Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances—21(Touch not, taste not, handle not) 22which all are to perish with the using—after the commandments and doctrines of men, 23which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship and humility and neglecting of the body, not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh?

 

This text identifies Israel’s food, drink, holy day, new moon and Sabbath commands as shadows of things to come. They are vital practices for Israel to teach the races the plans and character of Yehovah, but the Body of Saints originates from Messiah who dictates what the Body members are to do. He gave commands and responsibilities to Israel in the Torah, teaching all His plans in shadows. He did not give the same commands to non-Jewish Saints. Men invent their own ordinances or twist His teachings into theirs, but all man’s twistings will perish.

 

Head of the Church

Ephesians 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe according to the working of His mighty power 20which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and set at His own right hand in the heavenlies 21far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named—not only in this world, but also in that which is to come—22and hath put all under His feet, and gave Him the head over all to the Church 23which is His Body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.

 

Verse 22 gives the timing: and hath put all under His feet. This has not yet occurred, and will occur by the end of the Tribulation.

 

The Spirit of Yehovah through Paul desired the Ephesian folks to have the following:

 

  • The Spirit of Wisdom
  • The Spirit of revelation in the knowledge of Him
  • Enlightened, understanding eyes
  • The knowledge of the Hope of His calling
  • The knowledge of the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the Saints
  • The knowledge of the exceeding greatness of His power toward the Israelis who believe according to His mighty power’s working that He worked in Messiah when raising Him from the dead and placing Messiah at His own right hand in the heavenlies far above every power and authority and Name and rank
  • The knowledge that Yehovah has put all under Messiah’s feet
  • The knowledge that Yehovah gave Messiah to the Church, His Body, as head over all.

The Hope awaits a future fulfillment.

 

The wealth of the glory of His inheritance awaits a future fulfillment.

 

The exceeding greatness of His power toward the Israelis who believe awaits a future fulfillment.

 

Yehovah’s putting all under Messiah’s feet awaits a future fulfillment.

 

Therefore, is it unreasonable to state that Yehovah’s giving Messiah to the Church, His Body, as head over all awaits a future fulfillment?

 

Head of the Body

Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the Body, the church—Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead—that in all things He might have the preeminence. 19For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell. 20And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself—by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven. 21And you who were at one time alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled 22in the body of His flesh through death to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight 23if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel that ye have heard and that was preached to every creature which is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister, 24who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His Body’s sake, which is the Church, 25whereof I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you to fulfill the word of God, 26even the mystery that hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints 27to whom God would make known among the Gentiles what are the riches of the glory of this mystery—which is Christ in you, the Hope of glory— 28whom we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, 29whereunto I also labour, striving according to His working that worketh in me mightily.

 

This text declares that Messiah is the head of the Body, The Church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead. He will have preeminence in all things. (Does He have that now, in all things?) All fullness will dwell in Messiah, and this pleased Yehovah the Father. For,

  • Messiah made peace through the blood of His cross.
  • All things in earth and in the heavens are reconciled unto Yehovah via Messiah.
  • Messiah has now reconciled these believing Gentiles, who at one time were alienated and were enemies in their minds by wicked works, via His flesh’s body through death.
  • Messiah did this reconciliation to present the believing Gentiles holy, unblameable and unreproveable in Yehovah’s sight (if they don’t back away)

 

And Paul was made a minister

  • by the dispensation of God given to him for the Gentiles
  • in order to fulfill the word of God
  • in order to fulfill the mystery that has been hidden fro ages and generations
  • in order to fulfill the mystery that has been now made manifest to His Saints

 

Yehovah determined to make known to His Saints, among the Gentiles,

  • What the riches are of the glory of this mystery: Messiah in you (plural, referring to non-Jewish believers), the glorious Hope and the Hope of glory.

 

The ultimate goal of the Israelis’ preaching and warning, and teaching everyone in all wisdom is so that they will present every man perfect in Messiah Yeshua. Paul is simply doing this work earlier than the rest of the Israelis.

 

This text again identifies the Church with the Body of Christ.

 

At Home in the Body

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now He Who hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, Who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the Body, we are absent from the Lord 7(for we walk by faith, not by sight)—8we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the Body and to be present with the Lord. 9Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that every one may receive the things done in the body according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

 

Whose body is in mind in this text, the person’s individual body or the Body of Christ? Does verse 10’s body refer to the individual’s physical body, or should it be Body, referring to Messiah’s Body (Body of Christ)?

 

Responsibilities in the Body

Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue. 2Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3Remember them who are in bonds as bound with them, and them which suffer adversity as being yourselves also in the Body.

 

The letter to the Hebrews address Jewish non-Saints mixed with a few Saints. (I leave this up to you to prove or disprove this for yourself; just note the continual appeals in the document.) Warnings to enter into His rest and to not refuse Him Who speaks is pointed at folks who are not yet believers:

 

Hebrews 12:25 See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more if we turn away from Him that is from heaven!

 

When the speaker says, Remember them who are in bonds as bound with them, and them who suffer adversity as being yourselves also in the Body, he is referring to the Body of Israel. Is this distinguishable from the Body of Christ?

 

Body Bearing Dying for Life

2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed. We are perplexed, but not in despair, 9persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed—10always bearing about in the Body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our Body. 11For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

 

Why does verse 10 use our (plural) with Body (singular)? Were this referring to individuals, wouldn’t it have read, our bodies? We (verse 8) …bear about in the Body (verse 10), not ‘in our bodies.’Individuals suffer and die for righteousness, but the Body of Christ is the target that manifests the life of Yeshua.

 

Body for Yehovah, Not Fornication

1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats! But God shall destroy both it and them. Now the Body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the Body. 14And God hath both raised up the Lord and will also raise up us by His own power. 15Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them the members of an harlot? Absolutely not! 16What? Know ye not that he who is joined to a harlot is one body? “For two,” saith he, “shall be one flesh.” 17But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is outside the Body, but he who committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19What? Know ye not that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit in you which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price! Therefore glorify God in your Body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

 

Verse 13 refers to a Body (my capitalization), saying it is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the Body. Does this refer to the individual’s personal body, or the Body of Christ?

 

Paul uses a parable, showing that meats (foods) are made for the belly (otherwise the person with the belly would starve), and the belly is designed to handle the meats (food). The Body is in the same way for Yehovah’s usage, and Yehovah is for the Body (the Body needs Yehovah).

 

Verse 14 identifies us with the Body.

 

Verse 15 has a pronoun change (from we to ye), and refers to their bodies as members of Messiah. All member bodies together form one Body with Messiah.

 

Verse 18 is a mysterious text not easily explained without verse 20. Two situations are contrasted: outside the Body and in (or inside) the Body. Anyone part of a Godly Body who sins does an act outside the Body and its functions, behaving as one not born of God, not part of the whole. (Glorifying God in the Body is the opposite behaviour.) Sin does not represent the Body, but is foreign to it—outside of it. Committing fornication is not only violating the Body, but is working against his own physical body, and also sins against Messiah’s own Body!

 

Every body is owned, including the Body of Christ (verse 19). Anyone owned is obliged to show his master’s importance. Sinning shows the opposite.

 

Verse 19 again places your (plural) with Body (singular) as the Temple of the Holy Spirit, the place where the Holy Spirit resides (besides His being omnipresent). How great is the sin of a Saint! It not only is done against himself, but against Yehovah and the entire Body of Christ!

 

Temple of His Body

John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, “What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?” 19Jesus answered and said unto them, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up!” 20Then said the Jews, “Forty and six years was this Temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?” 21But He spake of the Temple of His body. 22When therefore He was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this unto them. And they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had said.

 

The statement, He spake of the Temple of His body refers to what? Was He prophesying His own resurrection? Did they destroy His physical body? Or is this a prophecy of a Tribulation event? His disciples believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had said, recalling a text or texts referring to this. What was (were) the text(s)?

 

Hosea 5:15 “I will go and return to my place till they declare themselves guilty and seek my face! In their Tribulation they will seek me sunrise!” 6:1 “Come! And we shall return unto Yehovah! For He hath torn, and He will heal us! He hath smitten, and He will bind us up! 2After two days will He revive us! In the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight! 3Then shall we know! We shall follow on to know Yehovah! His going forth is prepared as the morning, and He shall come unto us as the rain—as the latter, the former rain unto the earth!”

 

The event that takes place in three days is not the same as the event that took place after three days. Messiah rose from the dead after being in the heart of the earth three days and three nights, but the resurrection described in Hosea 6:2 will take place after two days, and therefore on the third day. The expressions He will revive us and He will raise us up along with we shall live in His sight describe resurrection events in which folks are brought back to mortal life. Ezekiel 37 also describes such a resurrection event. Could these texts relate?

 

Preserved Body

1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and Body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

This text again identifies the singular Body (as well as the spirit and soul) with your (plural).

 

Clothing and Food for the Body

Luke 12:22 And He said unto His disciples, “Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life—what ye shall eat, neither for the body—what ye shall put on. 23The life is more than food, and the body is more than raiment. 24Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, that neither have storehouse nor barn. And God feedeth them. How much more are ye better than the fowls? 25And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26If ye then are not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? 27Consider the lilies—how they grow. They toil not, they spin not. And yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28If, then, God so clothe the grass that is today in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, ye of little faith? 29And seek ye not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30For all these things do the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31But rather, seek ye the kingdom of God! And all these things shall be added unto you.”

 

This text seems straightforward, especially if pronouns are ignored. Contrast the following two statements:

 

Take no thought for your life.

 

Take no thought for your lives.

 

Do you see the difference? Your always shows plurality in the King James Version. If life is singular, it is corporate—all together have one life (not referring to their separate lives). In the same manner, the text continues,

 

Take no thought… for the body.

 

It didn’t say, Take no thought for your bodies. This body is also corporate. What Body is this?

 

The need for food is addressed in the following text:

 

Matthew 6:9 Our Father Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. 10Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us this day our daily bread.

 

This is a corporate prayer: Our Father Who art in heaven.

 

When did Yehovah historically provide daily bread? Was it not in the wilderness for forty years? He will do it again! Did the Israelis have clothing and shoe problems in the wilderness? The Body of Israel will have the same provision, and greater:

 

Deuteronomy 29:5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.

 

The Israelis are commanded to seek the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom’s righteousness (see the parallel text in Matthew 6), including that heroism by which one is willing to give his life for another, rather than food and clothing sources.

 

Light of the Body

Luke 11:33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick so that they who come in may see the light. 34The light of the Body is the eye. Therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole Body also is full of light, but when thine eye is evil, thy Body also is full of darkness. 35Take heed, therefore, that the light that is in thee be not darkness. 36If thy whole Body therefore is full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

 

What Body is in mind in verse 34? This text is warning an entire Body to be full of light and having no part dark! What is the light of the Body? Prophets of old were called Seers:

 

1 Samuel 9:9 (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)

 

The singleness of the eye will only be achieved when Israeli prophets speak with one voice, of Truth. Until then, at least two voices will be heard, one from True prophets and another from all false prophets. If a prophet is false, he is also evil, and the Body following him will be full of darkness.

 

The Torah and the Body

Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren—for I speak to them that know the law—how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2For the woman who hath a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth, but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3So then, if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress. But if her husband be dead, she is free from that law so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the Body of Christ that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins that were by the law did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held, that we should serve in newness of spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

 

Paul (by the Spirit of Yehovah) commences with a Torah argument, speaking to the Roman recipients of his letter who know the ‘law’. The Torah has dominion over a man as long as he lives, and adultery is not permitted. If a spouse is dead, however, the marital state is dissolved, and the surviving spouse may freely marry another. Verse 4 addresses the mainly non-Jewish Roman Saints:

 

  • They have become dead to the law (of sin and death, for the Torah never was their rule) via the Body of Christ
  • They will be married to another, to Messiah Who is raised from the dead
  • They will bring forth fruit to Yehovah.

Paul then switches pronouns from ye to we, referring to the Israelis (verse 5). When the Israelis were in the flesh (opposite of being in the Spirit or Spiritual, Godly), the calamities (wrongly rendered motions) of sins defined by the Torah worked in our members (of the Body of Israel) to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we (Israelis) are delivered from the Torah, the accusation in which we were held being dead, so that we will serve in newness of spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

 

The Dead Body

Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded, life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit—if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. 10 And if Christ be in you, the Body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh to live after the flesh—13for if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die—but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the Body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of ‘childrenship’ whereby we cry, “Abba!” “Father!” 16The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. 17 And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ if so be that we suffer with Him that we may be also glorified together. 18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20For the creature was made subject to vanity—not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope. 21For the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now—23and not only they, but ourselves also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit! Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the ‘childrenship’—the redemption of our Body! 24For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope. For what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25But if we hope for what we see not, we with patience wait for it. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. 27And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to God. 28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God—to them who are the called according to purpose. 29For whom He did foreknow, he also did predestinate conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called. And whom He called, them He also justified. And whom He justified, them He also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God Who justifieth. 34Who is he who condemneth? It is Christ Who died—yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God who also maketh intercession for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ, tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword?—36as it is written, “For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. 38For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come 39nor height nor depth nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

 

In verse 10, the Body is dead because of sin. What body is dead? What sin killed the body? The text assumes that the readers know. The you comprises a living group because of righteousness (verse 10). The text makes sense if the Body refers to Israel.

 

Even with Messiah’s being in (among) the corporate body of Roman Saints, Israel is still dead, and the Roman Saints wait for the redemption of the Body (of Israel). Yehovah, Who raised Messiah from the dead, will also make the Roman Saints’ mortal bodies alive via His Spirit in the Resurrection. Just as the Israelis are debtors to live through the Spirit, killing the deeds of the Body, so the non-Jewish folks are debtors to live righteously.

 

Roman Saints did not receive the spirit of slavery again in order to fear the wrath of God, but instead have received the Spirit of ‘childrenship’ (placement as full children, exceeding the legal relationship of adoption by becoming true blood kin) so that now, they also can do as the Israelis can do, calling Yehovah Papa. The Spirit of Yehovah Himself bears witness with the spirit of the Israelis that they are children of God. If they are children, they are also heirs, heirs of God! And they are joint heirs with Messiah if they suffer with Him, in which case they will also be glorified with Him.

 

The sufferings of the present are not worthy to be compared with the importance that will be revealed in the Israelis. The entire creation waits for the time when the sons of god will be clearly seen by all! Yehovah made the creation unwillingly subject to vanity (usually referring to idolatry) in Hope (waiting for Messiah’s restoration of all things). The creation will be delivered from the slavery of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Until then, the entire creation painfully groans and travails to this day. They are not alone in this, but folks with the firstfruits of the Spirit of God also are suffering, waiting for the time when the Israelis will be placed as sons, kin of the other Saints, when the Israeli Body will be redeemed. All this has not yet happened, because it is part of the Hope; what is seen needs not be viewed in hope. This requires patient waiting. (This is one reason why calls for Christians to ‘celebrate for the joy’ due to their own personal salvations goes contrary to the Word of God.)

 

In the meantime, the Spirit of Yehovah helps the Israelis’ weaknesses, because they don’t even know what to pray for, so the Spirit of Yehovah intercedes for them with groanings that cannot even be spoken or sounded. Yehovah knows the mind of the Spirit of Yehovah, and He makes intercession for the Saints toward Yehovah!

 

Israelis (who are knowledgeable in the Bible and believe its pages) know that all things work together for good to lovers of God, to folks who are the called according to purpose. Anyone Yehovah foreknew He predetermined conformed to the image of Yeshua so that Yeshua will be firstborn among many brothers. Yehovah called all the ones He predetermined to be conformed to Yeshua’s image. He made righteous all the folks He called, and He demonstrated as very important (glorified) all He made righteous. (These things have not yet happened.) If Yehovah is for the Israelis, who is against them?

 

Yehovah did not spare His own Son! He delivered Him up for all—for the Israelis and for all humans! How could He possibly not freely give the Israelis and Messiah all things?

 

Who will accuse Yehovah’s elect? Yehovah is the One Who justifies! Who condemns? Messiah is the One who died and indeed rose again and is indeed at the right hand of Yehovah, and Messiah makes intercession for the Israelis! Who will separate them from Messiah’s love? Will tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword? The text witnesses regarding the Israelis that for Messiah’s sake they are killed all day long, accounted like sheep for slaughter.

 

But no, in all these things the Israelis are more than conquerors through Messiah who loved them. (They are not conquerors yet, but will be!) Paul, by the Spirit of Yehovah, knew that none of the following could separate the Israelis from the love of God that is in Messiah Yeshua their Lord:

 

  • Death
  • Life
  • Angels
  • Principalities
  • Powers
  • Present things
  • Future things
  • Height
  • Depth
  • Any other creation

The Roman Saints have life because of the Spirit of God Who will also bring Israel to life during the Tribulation. No non-Jewish group or individual should glory in his own salvation while the Salvation of Israel is still unattended. (Don’t boast against the branches, Romans 11:18.)

 

Verse 13 shows the deeds of the Body are evil. The Body of Israel lives after the flesh—according to the way it feels, earthly rather than according to the Torah. Yehovah’s fury comes out against Israel every so many years.

 

Verse 16 confirms that the Israelis are the children of God:

 

Isaiah 64:8 But now, Yehovah, Thou art our father. We are the clay, and Thou our potter. And we all are the work of thy hand.

 

If Yehovah is the Israelis’ father, they are children of God. Verse 17 describes the conditions under which this status will be realized: if they will suffer with Messiah. If they will not, they will be cut off, but a few Israelis will always believe, and thus be ‘permanent’ children of God.

 

The whole creation is awaiting Israel’s redemption and Salvation, and Messiah’s return (verse 19, and especially verse 23). Once the body of Israel is redeemed, all the creation will rejoice, and the Hope of the Saints will be realized, the resurrection of the dead being completed by the return of the Saints with Messiah.

 

Eating His Body

Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it, and brake it and gave it to the disciples. And He said, “Take. Eat. This is my body.” 27And He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink ye all of it; 28for this is my blood of the New Testament that is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom!”

 

This text (and the next two) seems to refer to Yeshua’s physical body, but do they?

 

Mark 14:22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread and blessed, and brake it and gave to them. And He said, “Take! Eat! This is my body.” 23And He took the cup. And when He had given thanks, He gave it to them. And they all drank of it. 24And He said unto them, “This is my blood of the new testament that is shed for many. 25Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God!”

 

Luke 22:14 And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15And He said unto them, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17And He took the cup. And He gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves. 18For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God shall come.” 19And He took bread, and He gave thanks. And He brake it and gave unto them, saying, “This is my body that is given for you. This do in remembrance of me.” 20Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood that is shed for you.”

 

1 Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to wise men—judge ye what I say. 16The cup of blessing that we bless—is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break—is it not the communion of the Body of Christ? 17For we being many are one bread and one body. For we are all partakers of that one bread.

 

This text gives a clue: The bread which we break—is it not the communion [fellowship] of the Body of Christ? This wouldn’t make much sense if body referred to Yeshua’s physical body. It carries a different sense and fits the way it is being used if it refers to the Church. Separated, crushed flower is mixed with water then baked into one body of bread, one unleavened piece. (Leaven is always a type of sin when it is used as a type in the Bible.)

 

He states, Forwebeing many are one bread and one body. Communion implies different parts or persons coming together for a common purpose. The physical body of Messiah needed no communion. It was already in one piece.

 

If the above is true, how can This is my Body that is given for you be explained? Will the Body of Christ be given for the Israelis? We already covered the following text:

 

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

 

The Broken Body

1 Corinthians 11:17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 18For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you—and I partly believe it. 19For there must be also heresies among you, that they who are approved may be made manifest among you. 20When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s Supper! 21For in eating, every one taketh before the other his own supper, and one is hungry and another is drunken. 22What? Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the Church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I praise you not! 23For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread. 24And when He had given thanks, He brake it and said, “Take! Eat! This is my body that is broken for you! This do in remembrance of me.” 25After the same manner also He took the cup when He had supped, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood! This do ye—as oft as ye drink it—in remembrance of me.” 26For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He comes. 27Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. 29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body! 30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 33Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 34And if any man hunger, let him eat at home, that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

 

Paul gives us additional information in Messiah’s words: This is my body that is broken for you! Messiah’s body was never broken, as the Scripture states:

 

John 19:33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was dead already, they brake not his legs. 34But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true. And he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “A bone of him shall not be broken.”

 

If Messiah’s body was never broken, this must prophetically refer to the Body of Christ, the Church. When was the Body of Christ (the Church) historically broken? (The word broken refers to bread being separated, divided in order to be dispensed to folks to eat; it is not used for breaking pottery or bones.)

 

Verse 29 states, For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. How can one discern what he cannot see? But one can discern Yehovah’s Body, the Body of Christ!

 

Our Vile Body

Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ 21Who shall change our vile [humiliated] Body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious Body according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

 

The hope here is not that Messiah will change “our humiliated bodies,” but our humiliated Body (singular). The Israelis form one body. When it is changed, it will be a glorious Body:

 

Ephesians 5:25-b Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her 26that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27that He might present her to himself a glorious Church—not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

 

He will accomplish the subduing in verse 21, Who shall change our humiliated Body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious Body according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto himself, according to the following text:

 

Hebrews 2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

 

This awaits a future fulfillment.

 

Out of Body Experience?

2 Corinthians 12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the Body, I cannot tell, or whether out of the Body, I cannot tell—God knoweth)—such a one caught up to the third heaven. 3And I knew such a man (whether in the Body or out of the Body, I cannot tell—God knoweth), 4how that he was caught up into paradise and heard unspeakable words that it is not lawful for a man to utter.

 

This first man was in Christ. Thus, he was born of God. Paul could not tell whether this man was in the body or not when he was caught up to the third heaven. He knew a man like this man who was caught up into paradise hearing words that could not be spoken or uttered. Was he caught up physically, or was he, like John, transported in some other way? I point this text out, since it is a ‘body’ text.

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

Church can refer to:

  • A local congregation of Jewish and non-Jewish Saints,
  • A congregation of only Jewish Saints,
  • The congregation of Israel,

 

and

  • Various pagan entities unrelated to Biblical faith.

 

Jews are participant in the first three references. The Bible (to my knowledge) does not mention a church/assembly/congregation before the existence of Israel, though I am certain of Saints’ membership in the Church from Abel to Israel. Yehovah has made Israel the core of the Church with Avraham as the trunk and Messiah as both the root and the offspring of David:

 

Romans 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but through their fall is salvation unto the Gentiles, I order to provoke them to jealousy. 12Now if the fall of them is the riches of the world and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness? 13For I speak to you Gentiles inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles. I magnify mine office 14if by any means I may provoke my flesh to emulation and might save some of them. 15For if the casting away of them is the reconciling of the world, what is the receiving but life from the dead! 16For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also. And if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17And if any of the branches are broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18boast not against the branches! But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19Thou wilt say then, “The branches were broken off that I might be grafted in!” 20Fine! They were broken off because of unbelief, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear! 21For if God spared not the natural branches—lest he also spare not thee! 22Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God—on them who fell, severity, but toward thee, goodness—if thou continue in goodness—otherwise thou also shalt be cut off! 23And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in. For God is able to graft them in again. 24For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more shall these who are the natural be grafted into their own olive tree? 25For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery—lest ye should be wise in your own conceits—that blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. 26And so all Israel shall be saved as it is written, “There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. 27For this is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins.” 28As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. 29For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief, 31even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all. 33O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! 34For who hath known the mind of Yehovah? or Who hath been His counselor? 35Or Who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto Him again? 36For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to Whom is glory for ever! Amen. 1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice—holy, acceptable unto God—your reasonable service.

 

The firstfruit (verse 16) is holy, and so is the lump (of dough, referring to bread making). The root is holy (Messiah is the root), and so are the branches (referring to the Israelis).

 

Some the branches are broken off because of unbelief; some of the Israelis have been excised from the Tree. Another tree, a ‘wild olive’, has branches consisting of Gentiles. If a Gentile becomes a believer, he is cut out of the wild olive tree and is grafted into the good tree (connected to Avraham’s section), and rising among the branches from Jacob. This grafted wild olive had best not boast against the Jewish branches! Yeshua is the root, and He bears all the branches!

 

A Gentile might say, “The branches were broken off so that I would be grafted in!” Jewish individual branches were broken off because of unbelief, and the non-Jewish Saint remains by faith. But he had better not get cocky, but fear, because if Yehovah didn’t spare the natural branches, He might not spare a cocky wild branch that claims to have faith! The wild branch had better continue in goodness!

 

If the Israeli branches that were cut off from unbelief turn from unbelief to faith, Yehovah is able to graft them into the Tree again!

 

Israel’s blindness is in part, and will remain in part until the fullness of the Gentiles manifests itself. (When this happens, the Gentile attempts against Israel, Yehovah and Messiah will reach their climax; the cup of their iniquity will reach its fullness. Yehovah will cause them to drink of His wrath and their doings.) Then all Israel will be saved.

 

Verse 31 shows that the non-Jewish Saints have an obligation toward all Israel, so that through mercy (not religiosity nor arrogance) the Israelis will obtain mercy. Romans 12:1 shows that the non-Jewish Saints are to present themselves as a living sacrifice for the sake of the Israelis, because it is only reasonable in light of what the Israelis have done by procuring for the non-Jewish folks the Great Salvation. For, as Messiah states,

 

John 4:22-b For salvation is of the Jews.

 

The True Church is made of Jewish and non-Jewish Believers as pictured by Paul in Romans 11 when he discusses the Good Olive Tree. The Jewish Believers are the Natural olive branches, whether grafted or not, and the non-Jewish Believers are the wild olive branches grafted in. This has been true from the beginning.

  • The trunk of the Good Olive Tree is Avraham
  • Messiah is the root and offspring of David, the root of the Tree
  • Messiah is one of the offspring through Jacob
  • Saints who lived before Jacob are all connected to Avraham as branches parallel to, but not the same as, Jacob’s branch
  • Non-Jewish Saints are connected in one of two ways: to Avraham, or to Israel if they opt to become part of Israel

 

 

 

 

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