BY: CHARLES W. WELLER
JUST WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
PONTIFFS IN THE KINGDOM
MEN WILL FOLLOW ME
Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
The word partition comes from the Greek “phragmos” from which we would get the word fragment. The partition is a fragment, a portion, allotment, and share. It represents the result of a division. Division can come from many sources in life. Each division seeks to isolate us more (some would say insulate us!) from others. For each situation that causes us pain creates a new barrier to protect us from more pain. We all are good at building walls and the more walls we build, the more fragmented and the more isolated we become.
Jesus broke down the partition, that is, He destroyed, loosed, removed, dissolved that which separated us. Jesus removes barriers! The Christian walk is to be inclusive not exclusive. Partitions cause division, but He who is our peace creates openness without separation, without borders, without barriers, without exclusiveness.
The whole purpose of Ezekiel 37 is the resurrection of the dead bones into one new body. Our God is not in exclusiveness nor into creeds, but the INCREASE of His government will not know any end. (Isaiah 9:7) God is in the process of removing barriers. Latter Rain began with a word that released people. Then man organized it. God brought the charismatic move to free people from their denominations and to find Him. But soon man organized it (Simpson, Basham, Mumford, etc.). Then man finally put down tent stakes and called it the Vineyard. Every time God has moved to bring the people of the body of Christ up out of the valley of dry bones, man keeps it there with his organizing.
Division causes separation and eventual death when the body is separated from its several parts. Anything, anything, that seeks to build unto itself is carnal and of the flesh and part of the Babylonish garment that Achan sought after.
Man-made creeds began the separation process in the Christian church, that living body of believers. The first conference in Alexandria, Egypt, where the greatest collection of books existed (knowledge), brought about division as the church fought over what was included and excluded. Try as they might they fought over the Godhead and their carnal understandings rather than focusing on becoming like Jesus!
The fallen nature of man always acts out of LACK. It is void of life and empty and needs to be filled. Rather than identifying with their Lord Jesus, the church ministry (the five fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11-13) rather than leading, returns to its vomit of exclusiveness and false identity. The need to belong, the need to be recognized, the need to be comfortable, is a driving force. It is the force of God pushing us. But to seek it any place but in Christ is false.
The need to be loved cannot be found in another person. Things change and divorce occurs. Mankind will fail you. You will not believe exactly as they do or do as exactly as they do for whatever the reason. Conformity to another through the adamic fallen nature always fails. The same problem is in the church because the body of Christ has not identified itself with Christ.
Unless one finds their passion and love in Christ, all else fails. It is the true fulfillment of Christ’s love in us that removes the partitions that denominations or men set up. It is the true love of Christ that removes the need to belong to a group, a name, a ministry, etc. Not that we don’t fellowship with others regularly in weekly services, but rather the truth is that there is no need for a man-made effort for identification.
Paul writes in Galatians 1:1 “Paul an apostle (not sent from men, nor through the agency of man but through Jesus Christ.” (NAS) “Paul, an apostle, (not from men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) (Webster Bible) “Paul, an apostle – not from men, nor through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who did raise him out of the dead.“ (Young’s Literal)
Paul was a highly educated man who spoke at least three languages. He had worked well in the religious system of the day and was an “up and coming” (Galatians 1:14) man within the system. He understood the hierarchy of the religious system, worked within its bounds, and sought its effects. Yet, when he received the Lord he did not go to Jerusalem and seek the counsel of the elders, but spent three years in the desert to learn at the hands of the Spirit. (Galatians 1:12, 17)
He did not receive his fulfillment through an organization nor from a Jonathan/David type of relationship with a brother, but found it in God Himself. He was not ordained “through man nor the agency of man.” He found his identity with and in Christ. Not that a close relationship with a brother in Christ is bad, but rather it is one of equals with neither coming from lack – trying to find or fill a void of a need that is felt.
I might add that a married man should not have a Jonathan/David relationship with a brother because the marriage is to be such a depth of relationship. When Jonathan and David had that relationship it was before they were married to their spouses. David always had trouble with right order relationships like Abigail, Bathsheba, etc. God’s order of priorities if a person is married is husband/wife depth of relationship and nothing is to divide that whether it be brother/sister, children or occupation. But even more so if one is married to Christ then there is not a need for a brother/brother relationship above the marriage to the Lamb or even the family.
One of the issues of the Latter Rain movement in the 1940’s and 1950’s was “covering.” It was also in the charismatic move of the sixties and seventies. In fact, ministry told people whom they could marry, almost whether they could even sneeze! Men were not to run their businesses without the “prophet” or “apostle” okaying business investments of all sorts. Such a concept still is here today worming its sick way in the body of Christ. The belief is that every minister is to have someone over them to be their spiritual covering. This concept is basic to every denomination which got it from the mother of harlots, the Roman Catholic church who placed the Pope as the covering for the people in place of Jesus. Martin Luther in his writings of the Reformation called the Pope the Antichrist – one who was in place of Christ.
Who was Jesus’ covering? God was. Is Jesus our pattern to follow (1 Peter 2:21)? Paul writes that people were to follow him as he followed Christ. Did Paul have a covering other than Jesus? (Galatians 1:1, 2 Thess. 3:7-9) Jesus broke down the wall of partition between us and God. But He did more than that. We are to see each other in Christ. As we submit to each other, we are submitting to God not to one individual, nor one minister etc. nor are we under the covering of a individual person. Each of us is equal in submission, but different in purpose (one a minister, one a teacher, one a business person, etc.). But no one is to be our covering. Our only covering is Christ.
Whether you are a minister in front of the church or the brother at the end seat in the last pew, each should be washing each other’s feet! But the concept of covering creates an ecclesiastical order, the putrid doctrine of the Nicolaitans – priesthood over the people. The carnal nature in the ministry seeks to establish itself over the people. Jesus did away with ecclesiastical order and created the priesthood of the believer -–1 Peter 2:9. This established the order of Melchizedek and removed the order of Aaron. This is why Paul did not consult with the leaders of the early Christian church! Even then such was there. The position of James was ordained of God, but the usurpation of that position for creating bondage was not God’s plan.
Paul called this another gospel. It was not the gospel of Grace that he was establishing. James and the churches’ legalism in Jerusalem was called ‘beggarly elements’ by Paul. (Galatians 4:9) Anything that seeks to establish man-made order rather than submission one to another is false. The whole concept of covering is a deception. Christ is your covering individually and corporately. Anything that brings you in bondage is not of God but of the flesh and carnality. And bondage does not always rear its ugly head immediately so it must be spiritually discerned. It may not be discerned if you feel a LACK and a NEED within you. Carnality is like sugar. It fills you momentarily but has no substance for you. Thus there is the deception of it.
You can discern only if you identify with Jesus’ nature and the fullness of Him within you and not the fallen nature. Remember if you are hungry you will do what is necessary in the adamic nature, that is if you have a LACK or NEED. You will form an unhealthy relationship if you come from LACK. We must come from the nature we have in Christ, and poor decisions will not occur. The drive for fellowship and relationship is Godly, but walls (us vs. them, denominations, etc.) are caused by the flesh.
True leadership, like Joshua of old, leads the people into the Promised Land and empowers them to remove the walls of Jericho. Jesus came to remove all walls/partitions that separate us, that hinder us from having relationships with others. Jesus tore the curtain in the temple revealing that the order of Aaron was done away with. Any ministry that seeks otherwise by building a quasi-group or denomination whatever their excuse is killing the organism and creating an organization and re-creating the way of Aaronic priesthood.
The doctrine of the Nicolaitans is just such. It insulates and isolates. Israel cried out for a king and Samuel cried. The people were building a wall. God is in the business of removing walls by establishing the priesthood of the believers through Jesus Christ. True ministry seeks to help the brethren by working themselves out of a position so that all come to the stature and the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-13) True ministry should decrease as all come to know Him from the least to the greatest!
If you feel a need for someone calling you a “bishop” beware; it is the call of the Sirens. Like Paul, a ministry is recognized by the work of God dealt in the vessel. How do you know someone is a teacher – it is evident by their gift, by their expertise and ability. Why was Stephen selected? Acts 6:3 states he was one of seven men of good report and full of wisdom. That which was wrought in him by God elevated him and recognized him among his peers.
Covering is not of Paul nor of Cephas! Consider what Paul states in 1 Corinthians 1:12-13: “Now, I mean this, that each one of you is saying, ‘I am of Paul,’ and ‘I of Apollos,’ and ‘I of Cephas,’ and ‘I of Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” Partition means fragmentation. Is this not divisive? Any attempt to have someone ‘covered’ by the ministry of another is not of the order of God. Bishops (episcopal in the Greek and is used only eight times) were only in a local setting – leaders in a local setting. Bishop according to Vine’ Dictionary is a word used for a “position” within the church. Man has created and elevated these names to make names for themselves and imply it was over a large number of churches. The word ‘elder’ in the Greek is ‘presbyter’ and again it is as an indication of spirituality according to Vine’s Dictionary and again to be used in the local church. Everything is based on a local independent church. There should be no one creating an allegiance to their leadership as a bishop and proclaiming how many churches are under them. Such boasting whether in a denominational system or quasi-system is a sign of a carnal nature and true lack of leadership.
Man would have a king. God would not because if there is a king, He is not king in His own kingdom. Samuel cried when he had to anoint Saul. As the spirit of Jubilee is poured out over the land, it removes partitions, proclaiming the kingdom of God and delivering people from the bondage of the fleshly order of things.
This is a time of separation UNTO the Lord, not a separation FROM the brethren. Those called to reveal Him cannot, will not and have no desire to build something that is earthly which divides but seek the kingdom of God and set their affections on things above.
JUST WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
It is not a ‘what’ but a ‘who.’ Jesus was the kingdom of God. Matthew 4:23 states He came proclaiming the kingdom of God. I ask you how did He proclaim the kingdom of God? He manifested it by the things He did – “And Jesus was going about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.” Men try to build kingdoms in many different ways.
Some think the kingdom is a 1,000 year reign believing the book of Revelation is literal. And so they look for it. But the kingdom comes without observation. Jesus hid in broad daylight for 30 years. The kingdom was right in front of them – but the people didn’t see it. Moses the deliverer of Israel hid openly in the house of the Pharoah of Egypt and no one knew it. The kingdom is hid within you openly (Luke 17:21), and it is a spiritual kingdom and no one knows it. Jesus manifested it! Ponder that! He didn’t try to establish it – He was it! Jesus revealed the kingdom and called us to do likewise – Romans 8:19, Rev.21:7.
The wall of partition is being removed for the body of Christ to accept His headship and not that of a man, whose order proceeds out of the LACK of Adam. Paul in Ephesians 2:14 is referring to Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek (national) there is neither slave nor free (economic) neither is there male nor female (natural) for you all are one in Christ Jesus.” Then in Ephesians 2:14 Paul states that Christ removed the ecclesiastical (the Law, which is the work of Aaronic priesthood).
Leviticus 14:37 speaks of the walls of a house which had the plague. The house would be destroyed by the plague if the poison was not cleansed from it. The house is you, the temple of God. The plague is identification with the fallen sin nature, carnality and LACK. Allow the priesthood of believers to minister to you and deliver the plague from your house. How? By helping you identify with who you are in Christ rather than with the nature that was done away with by Christ Himself. The hand ministry (the five-fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11) is only part of the body of Christ. Let the whole body bring the healing for no part is greater than any other part.
Let me quote from George Hawtin’s Mystery Babylon…
“Gen. 11:1-9. Long, long ago when man was still young and the earth was one language and one speech, the people wandered into a plain in Shinar near the mouth of the Euphrates River. In this place was Ur of the Chaldees from which Abraham was later called, Gen. 11:3 1, and in which still later the mighty kings, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, and Darius, were to reign in splendor in Babylon. Centuries previous to this Adam had basked in the glories of Eden in this same region of the rivers Euphrates and Hiddekel. What an historic region this was, indeed! Perhaps no other spot on earth has had more to do with the destinies of man than this region, and history with its types and shadows that had its cradle there will one day rock the earth as its mysteries unfold.
So the inhabitants of earth wandered to Shinar, the land near the Persian Gulf, and these people, lest they become dispersed from one another on the face of the earth, decided to build a city and a mighty tower that would reach to heaven. With adobe brick baked and burned and slime for mortar they set about the impossible task of building a tower which would reach right up to heaven itself. With what zeal they set about their task and with what labor and travail they inched their weary way toward the skies! Poor little earth-bound man with his feeble trowel and unstable mortar will never reach those realms immortal. Not by sweat of face and labor of hands can such glories be attained, but only through faith in blood incorruptible, speaking better things than that of Abel, can we rise on the omnipotent arm of the Spirit into the realms that are eternal.
It was in mercy that the gracious Father came down from His throne to see the work they were doing. Gen. 11:5. Well did He know that the tower which they struggled to build that day was but the harbinger of many, many more such similar and fruitless attempts through succeeding ages. Indeed, they would not build again with slime and brick, but with vast and varied means of self-righteousness would man in future years try to span the gulf between himself and God and seek to rise by his own effort from the lowly earth to the vaulted skies. And so God came down to see their work and what He saw displeased Him greatly. Therefore with one stroke He garbled and confused their language so that none understood the speech of his neighbor. Every man went about babbling sounds unintelligible to all but himself and his own family. All work was disrupted; everything was deranged. Discomposure, disturbance and deorganization reigned unchallenged. Disconcerted and perplexed people shuffled about amid the topsy-turvy insanity of the hour and sought with haste to scatter themselves abroad on the earth to free themselves from the demented and chaotic throng. When the confusion and disorder had died away and the whole of humanity was scattered abroad, God Himself gave the place a name-Babel (or Babble) – a name that would fitly describe for all time the age-lasting confusion that would exist for the world of mankind who would henceforth try to bring unity and a way to the realms of God by the efforts of the carnal mind.
Here at Babel, which means confusion, we have the beginning of the great mystery of Babylon, which is to follow through each succeeding generation, ever widening its scope of power and influence until it sits astride the whole earth, full of wealth and swaggering in drunkenness from the blood of the saints, still as religious as ever, still seeking to build a tower to heaven, but still the eternal mystery of confusion and disorder, the Mother of harlots and abominations of the whole earth. Here at Babel, then, began the idea of trusting in some visible work of man’s hands to bring unity and oneness of speech.
Full forty years Israel had wandered in the wilderness, but at long last they had passed over Jordan and were now in the glorious land promised to Abraham in the long ago. The manna of the wilderness ceased as soon as they passed over Jordan and they rejoiced in the fruit of that wonderful land of promise. From here on they were to have a new Captain, even the captain of the Lord of Hosts. The directions for capturing the city of Jericho were simple, indeed, and without the loss of a man the city fell into their hands. Greatly did they rejoice over their victory, and it was with joyful confidence that they sent a small army of men the day following to capture the little city of Ai. But their joy was short-lived, for the men of Ai came out and fought against them and beat them back, and thirty-six men of Israel fell before them. There was a reason for this defeat, and with what breath-taking interest is the story told in Joshua, chapter 7. “Israel hath sinned,” said God, “and therefore cannot stand before their enemies.” So lots were cast to find the sinner and Achan of the tribe of Judah was taken. And Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give, I pray, glory to the Lord God of Israel and make confession unto Him, and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.” And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed, I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel and thus have I done: When among the spoils I saw a goodly Babylonish garment and two hundred shekels of silver and wedge of gold, I coveted them and took them, and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent.”
So here it is so very soon! A goodly Babylonish garment, together with the other two things that always go with it- silver and gold. Here is the garment of Babylon throwing confusion and disorder into the ranks of the people of God and making them lose the victory and flee before their enemies. Five times in this seventh chapter God spoke, saying, “Israel hath sinned in the accursed thing.” Verses 11, 12, 13, 15
I must speak with the utmost solemnity here. I must invite all men to sober thought. Did you ever see it fail? The moment God begins a mighty work of grace and power and unity, someone begins to covet the Babylonish garment. He secrets it away into his tent to hide it there. The very thing that was to have been destroyed he secretly saves, and with it he starts to build another tower, another language, and another nation to add to the universal confusion and disorder that is manifest everywhere in the church. It is difference of language above everything else that makes the many nations of earth. It is literal Babylon that separates brother from brother and makes them more hateful than a foe. It is spiritual Babylon that separates Christian from Christian, destroying unity and dividing purpose and making all speak a different language. It is spiritual Babylon that divides the people of God, making them foreigners and strangers, none speaking intelligibly to the other.
The call of the Lord today is, “Come out of her, My people, and be not partaker of her sins.” But verily I say to you that we will need much more wisdom than the wisdom of man to be set free from this octopus that holds Christendom in its many entwining arms. The wisdom of man will praise God for its deliverance from one of the harlots of Babylon even while it is fondly embracing another. While men are praising God for deliverance from one arm of the octopus, they are being enfolded by another, and while they rejoice that they have found their way out of the darkness of one of the streets of Babylon, they awaken to find they are walking down another.
Forgive me if I boast a little, for this boasting is not the kind that savors of pride, but rather brings great sadness to my heart. There may be many men in the world qualified to speak of these thin things, but few have been more qualified by experience than I both to see and discern the many ramifications of the Babylonish system. I was born into the system many years ago. I walked its streets and wore its garments before I ever knew Christ as my personal Savior. The denomination was everything. It mattered little how men lived or whether they had any personal experience with God. The thing that mattered was whether or not they were church-goers. They did not hide the Babylonish garment in their tent; they wore it with pride. Neither did they hide the talents of silver and the wedge of gold. The more they contributed to the organization the better Christians they were. Then one day I found Christ and my heart was filled with joy because of a love I had for Him. I wanted to be near Him and point other men to Him. He was to me the centre of all things and the most important person in all the universe. It was not long, however, before I saw that I was falling into another sect. They wanted me to speak their language and help to build their tower. Was I going to join them? Was I going to preach for them? Was I going to wear their garments? Was I going to be distinctly theirs? But God was leading me on, delivering me from the prisons of Babylon, opening the rusty gates, and leading me out into the broad ways of His grace divine.
Perhaps it was a miracle. I do not think it was chance. I learned that men could be baptized with the Holy Spirit. So I sought and found this blessed new experience in God, and joys flowed like a river as the Comforter came in. But here again the arms of another daughter of Babylon began to enfold me. Was I going to join their Church? Was I going to preach for them? Was I going to take out papers and credentials? This time I was persuaded, and I did, and for seventeen years thereafter I was a faithful slave of the organization, speaking its language and building its visible tower. But I was never fully satisfied, though I loved the work, I loved the people, and I loved the students of my old Bible School. Many dozens of them went out to minister far and wide and many found their way to distant and foreign lands. I am sure their rewards will be many, indeed.
All the while there was a longing for a freedom which I did not know, a relationship with God that I did not have. Many times I taught the people that some day God would send a revelation of truth, but the very denomination we had so faithfully built would not be able to receive it. When finally that revelation did come, they were not able to receive it, and those of us who did receive it were vomited like Jonah from the belly of the denominational whale, thrown up upon dry land, for we had sickened his stomach.
God does not leave us in a dry land for long if we are bound to be one with Him. Should my life be very long on earth, I shall never be able to forget the glory, the awe, the reverence, the holiness, and the power that came to our class room as we waited on God that glorious 13th of February, 1948, when God began to do a new thing that was destined for a time to shake the church system all over America. How we sang the songs of deliverance! How the praises of God echoed down the corridors of the soul and re-echoed among the battlements of heaven! Music of heavenly choirs of earth went sweeping up the sky steeps while angels stood at heaven’s gates and swept their harps of gold. Day after day, month after month the celestial wonder continued. Heaven came down our souls to greet and glory crowned the mercy seat. People came for thousands of miles to drink at the ever flowing fountain of life and it looked for a time as though the walls of Babylon were to be broken down and the whole church would come marching to Zion.
But the Babylonian captivity was not yet over. As I look sadly in retrospect now, I can see with clearness that the great and blessed move of God was not two years old before the sectarian spirit began to show its ugly head and men began to hide the Babylonish garment in their tents, together with the silver and the wedge of gold. Much as we may despise the Babylonish garment, let me use this pun: The moment the gold gets its wedge in, we are on the way back to Babylon. It is true that we vociferously denied that we had become a sect. Oh, no! Not we! We had no name; we were not registered with the government as a sect and never would be. We had done away with many of the institutions that had characterized other sects. Gone were the Bible Schools. Gone were the church buildings. Gone were the hireling pastors. Gone were so many things that would have identified us with either the Mother of harlots or any of her daughters. The old Babylonish garment was well hidden deep beneath the earth of the tent, but it was there none the less, and the whole move was becoming more and more enfolded by another tentacle of the great octopus. Stricter and more rigid became the teaching and the discipline. There was to be no fellowship with anybody who was not within the confines of our ever narrowing circle. We were the true church. We were the elect. We stood on the foundation and all other men stood on sinking sand. No man must cast out a devil unless he followed us. No teaching was worth the time it took to tell it unless it originated with us. We were the most spiritual people in the world. We were going to reign in the kingdom and even now we were beginning to reign. We had the gifts of the Spirit, and we were going to “call the shots” in the tribulation.” End quote. What a deception.
Our prayer for all the saints…
May the walls, the partitions that which divides in your personal life, come down. May anything in you that seeks to divide you from someone else be removed. May anything within you that isolates you from fellowship with another whether by creed, association, etc. be removed. Whatever bondage you may be in due to the LACK of the carnal nature, whether it be social, economic, political, religious or natural be overcome by identification with your fullness in Christ. (Ephesians 3:19, Colossians 1:19, 2:9,19, John 1:16) May the new creation man of Ephesians 2:16 and 1 Corinthians 5:16-17 be established who knows no creed but Christ who sees no life but Christ. For He who has begun a good work in you will finish it. Cry to the mountain of flesh: “What are you O great Mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of GRACE, GRACE to it.“ (Zechariah 4:7)
Let Him who is the top stone come forth as you reveal the grace of the kingdom of God. Even as Jesus revealed grace, so you too coming forth in His identity shall reveal the very same kingdom. Settle not for partitions, walls.
Others have written on the same subject as you have just read. So we have condensed their writings and offer them to you to consider further. Elwin Roach, a personal friend and trustworthy companion on the path to the high prize in Christ Jesus has given us permission to quote his writing, 98.107, which deals with similar issues. Within his article which is excerpted here are quotes from J. Preston Eby and Ray Prinzing. Considering the information Roach, Eby, and Prinzing provide plus what we shared of Hawtin, beware the leavening effect of man made orders.
“And they said unto Moses (Moses, Hebrew meaning, to draw out), Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off….And Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.“ (Exod. 20:17-18, 21)
Practically everyone will carry on about how they want to see the Lord and sit at His feet; however, when it comes down to it, most avoid Him like the plague. And there is good reason for this. It’s called self-preservation. Although their surface thoughts and words are geared to meet Him face to face and hear His wise counsel, there is something in them that fears the prospect. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as Paul pointed out in his letter to the Ephesians. He also informed us that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 15:50) Therefore, after declaring that they want to see God, men of the flesh will stand afar off when He comes upon the scene; for they do not want to change, and they certainly don’t want to die.
Moreover, when they see where God abides, IN THICK DARKNESS, they don’t want to have anything to do with Him, at least, not on a personal basis. For the most part, they will let Moses (their minister) risk his life while they stand at a safe distance. In this present day, however, we will not find a large number of ministers who draw near to God. They likewise are content in standing away while mulling over and dishing out yesterday’s manna. Whether it is the clergy or the laity, it is much easier to minister from the confines of protected denominations, or to nestle into comfortable pews and avoid the potential danger that lurks in God’s abode of thick darkness. Although it is in this dreadful place where the unveiling of God’s mysteries are found, fear has a way of ruling, and foregoing His treasures is not an option to them. They are willing to have someone tell them about the mysteries in the form of a new doctrine, or old ones; but they fear what it might cost to venture into the unknown for themselves.
You would think more people would be eager to hear what the Lord has to say, especially after reading verses like we find in the book of Acts: “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.“ (Acts 3:22) People, however, are no different today than they have ever been. In the same way Israel chose the Law and Moses, they will choose what their pastor says and religiously follow it to the letter. “Just tell us what to do and what not to do, and we will be the most obedient, religious, God pleasing bunch of people in the world.” This was the voice of Israel’s heart, and so it is today with Christendom as a whole. People look to their leaders to lead them, and few lay it to heart that Moses (representing the law) could not lead Israel out of the wilderness, and neither will any man clothed in the veil of flesh.
People today are no different. When Jesus’ thundering voice sounds, and His anointing streaks through their heavens like lightning, and their kingdoms are going up in smoke – they remove themselves afar off. They also make it perfectly clear: “We will not have this Man to rule over us. Get out of our church.” They prefer Moses (the law, the veil) over Christ – for it stands between them and God’s glory. Their veil of safety consists of everything found in their religious lives: their creeds, their laws, their dogmas, their works, their rituals, their pastors, their teachers, and anything else that has a show of Godliness but lacks the power. All these things serve to keep the people from the presence of God. They will do anything to keep from being exposed and consumed by God’s glory. As long as there is a veil between them, and they cannot hear the voice of God or see His face, Adam will live. Yet, they that live in pleasure are dead while they live. (1 Tim 5:6)
I find it difficult to ignore the religious prisons and gatekeepers that make slaves of men. I, like many others, have been called to free and reconcile people to God, and when I see what religious leaders are doing to people’s souls and lives, I cannot endorse them or their efforts. They may take offence at what I write; but that is better than to leave forlorn souls in captivity. I am compelled to use the keys of death and hell and open those dark gates. When I see the entangling webs of deceit, how can I leave them intact, as the newborns are swept daily into them to have their life drained from them? I find it hard to turn a blind eye to such.
PONTIFFS IN THE KINGDOM
It was not until Israel refused to hear God for themselves that the order of the Levitical priesthood was established. Their wishes were granted and they were given the Law and the Veil to keep them from the presence of God – and it continued until Jesus. He made a way for everyone to go beyond the veil and enter into the Holy of holies. (Heb 10:19-20)
Some today would like to have seen Him remain and not have gone to the cross. Not even His own fleshly body, however, could usher men into the inner presence of God. On the contrary, it was also a veil to men, and therefore, had to be torn. He had to go away to make it possible for men to hear God and live. He then came again the second time with neither a body resembling sin, nor having to present a sin offering. (Heb 9:28) He came not to be with men, but to be IN them, and this time – unto salvation, unto deliverance from sin. (John 14:17-18)
Until Jesus came and finished His work, the priesthood of the law was the standard. This new freedom and sweet communion with Christ endured for a season. Men moved in to help the Lord. They elected themselves into offices of His Kingdom and built alternate bridges (pontiffs). The system for constructing these bridges was instituted by the Roman emperor, Constantine. His construction business was a big success. It was not long before he had bridges everywhere, from the Pope to the Cardinals, to the Archbishops, Bishops, and all the way down to the parish priests.
With so many bridges, it soon became old fashion to use the Ancient Bridge that God had built. Rather than the man Jesus continuing as the mediator between God and men (1 Tim 2:5), the Pope took His place and became the chief bridge. With this man in place, men no longer looked from within to the Bridge of Life that leads to New Jerusalem, but from without to a bridge leading to Rome. If you didn’t know:
“Pope is the title of the spiritual ruler of the Roman Catholic Church. The Church regards the pope as its visible head and Jesus Christ as it invisible head. The word pope comes from the Latin word papa, which means father.…The pope is also called pontiff. Pontiff, from the Latin pontific, pontifex, meaning bridge. It is from this word that we get pontoon. A pontifex is a member of the council of priests forming the most important part of the Roman Religious body (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary).
The system of government of the Roman Catholic Church with the pope as supreme head is called the papacy. The word papacy also refers to the office of the pope. The congregations, tribunals, and offices in Rome through which the pope governs the church make up the curia.. The pope’s seat of authority is in Rome. It is called the Apostolic See or the Holy See.
“The hierarchy, or governing body of the church, is organized somewhat like a pyramid. The pope stands alone at the head of the entire church. Below him are a number of cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops. A large number of abbots, prelates, and vicars form the base of the hierarchy. Members of the hierarchy inform the pope of their activities through written reports and personal visits. As a result, he has a continual flow of information about all areas of church government…
“Roman Catholics believe that the pope is infallible in matters concerning faith and morals. He claims divine assistance as the successor of St. Peter when he speaks in this manner. The pope… has absolute authority.” (World Book Encyclopedia)
So here we have the old priesthood back with us. It has been here since the inception of the Roman Catholic Church, and to make sure we are kept safe from the presence of God, pontiffs, veils of flesh, have been built. We look upon the above as being so clearly emboldened with apparent counterfeits that anyone with any spiritual insight could see how man has usurped the place and authority of Jesus. However, this very scheme has prevailed from Luther, to Finney, to present day Protestant churches, and into what is called Kingdom churches, ministries, and home meetings. People in every realm are willing, like Israel, to sit in their marked pews each week, or in their homes, and be spoon fed by the pontiffs who see, hear, and think for them. They have become reliant on these crumbling bridges to nowhere.
MEN WILL FOLLOW MEN
Let us quote from a dear brother and co-laborer in Christ. “It is amazing how quickly men are willing to become followers of other men. They choose a doctor or a dentist with more care than in the attention they give to preachers – listening to anything that comes along, and then they wonder why they sense no life within, or in what they hear. The writer to the Hebrews admonishes that we are to be ‘followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.’ (Heb. 6:12) And again, ‘Whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.’ (Heb. 13:7)
“This greatly limits our following any man – as we consider the end, the net result of their behavior. Do they point you to Christ, or are they building a kingdom around themselves? Do they bring you into a bondage to the flesh, or do they encourage your liberty IN CHRIST? The ‘revelation’ they proclaim, does it lead into the life of Christ, or does it leave you feeling dull, empty, and dry? At its worst, following man becomes idolatry. And at its best, we can only say with Paul, ‘Be ye followers of me, even as I also AM OF CHRIST.’ (For) I would have you know, that THE HEAD OF EVERY MAN IS CHRIST. (1 Cor, 11, 1, 3) We can walk with other men only in the measure they are walking with Christ and encouraging us to have HIM to be our Head. For sure, this truth is in direct contradistinction to those men who teach for some man to be your covering, your spiritual head. Let it ring out loud and clear, ‘the Head of every man is Christ,’ and HE IS GOOD!” (Ray Prinzing, Letters of Truth, No. 274).
And we will draw from another anointed writer concerning Kingdom truths:
“My beloved, if ever you hope to reign with Christ YOU MUST BECOME SUBMITTED TO THE AUTHORITY OF GOD, THE SHEPHERD OF ISRAEL. And I’m not talking about coming to El Paso and submitting to my ministry, or to any other man, or group of men. It is amazing how ‘man’ conscious even many who have received the call to sonship are! They are looking for a man, a ministry that can bring them into the Kingdom of God and into eternal life. There IS such a man, my friend – His name is Jesus Christ. Certainly we must walk in all humility with our brethren, ‘submitting ourselves one to another in the fear of God.’ (Eph. 5:21) But true SONSHIP SUBMISSION is SUBMISSION TO THE FATHER THROUGH THE HEADSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST, for God has ‘put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.’ (Eph. 1:22-23) ‘And He is the Head of the body… who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things HE might have the preeminence.’ (Col. 1:18) How tragic that there are so many in this hour who are ‘not holding the Head, from whom all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.’ (Col.2:19)
“There are multitudes across the land who loudly profess to have received the call to sonship who, rather than submitting themselves UNDER THE MIGHTY HAND OF GOD, submit their walk with God into the hands of others who persuade them that they are more capable than themselves to watch for their souls. The land is filled with men calling themselves apostles, elders, teachers, shepherds, etc., who desire to lord it over a flock or other men?s lives, telling others what they can or cannot do, esteeming themselves spiritual enough to discern for everyone else what the will of the Lord is, though they bear no credentials other than their own word that they possess such authority. Some claim that they alone have the words of life, they among all God?s prophets have the true, deeper, spiritual, mystical revelation that will lead the sons to perfection and immortality. Not discerning the Lord’s body, and elevating their word and their ministry above all the Lord’s brethren, they draw disciples after themselves. But I tell you the truth and I lie not when I say that no man can minister to you that which he himself does not possess. If a man tells you that he possesses the secret and the truth by which you can save your life and enter into physical immortality, yet he himself has neither stopped nor reversed the aging process, only a fool would commit their lives into his hands. Ah – there is ONE, precious friend of mine, who HAS STOPPED THE AGING PROCESS, WHO HAS CONQUERED DEATH, WHO IS ALIVE FOREVERMORE, and this One holds the Key, He knows the Secret, He Himself IS the Truth, and I must tell you today that HE, AND HE ALONE, HAS THE WORDS OF LIFE! Yes, those words are ministered through His many brethren. Certainly there are many precious under-shepherds, true ministries HE has set in the body, humble examples to the flock, with a flow of HIS LIFE, bearing the true Word of the Lord for this hour, a source of encouragement, confirmation, and strength unto all to whom they are sent, and we praise God for them. All such true ministries bear one signal mark of distinction: they do not draw followers after themselves, they POINT ALL MEN TO THE LORD; they do not ask you to blindly submit to them, or follow them to the exclusion of the other ministries in this present truth, but they present you unto HIM WHO IS THE HEAD OVER ALL THINGS TO THE CHURCH.
“I speak the truth when I say that the greatest need in this hour is for the people of God to begin to KNOW THE LORD FOR THEMSELVES. Let all who treasure the beautiful hope of sonship begin to seek God, and walk with God, and know God, and hear from God, and submit to Him in all His ways, and to His will and to His word, and GOD HIMSELF will be YOUR FATHER and you will sup with HIM and He with you. Ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit, thrust yourself in utter abandonment upon His love and care, and before you realize it you will find yourself digging deep in the storehouse of God’s treasures of wisdom and knowledge and sitting with Him at His banqueting table. He will spread a table before you in the presence of your enemies, He will lead you through green pastures; He will reveal to you fountains of living water flowing from within; He will cause you to rest beside cool, still streams; and HE, the Great Shepherd of the sheep will abide with you and your cup will overflow with the unspeakable riches of His grace and the wonder of His glorious and eternal reality.
“How many are submitted to men but not to God! Men will travel or move thousands of miles across the land to receive from man, but have never discovered the well within which springs up into eternal life! Their obsession with ‘man’ reveals their own inner desolation. If you would keep the position of order in God’s house of sons you must remember that ‘Christ is a Son OVER HIS OWN HOUSE; whose house we are.’ (Heb. 3:6) He is the Head, He is the Good Shepherd, and the Great Shepherd, and the Chief Shepherd, He is the Lord, He is the forerunner, He is the firstborn who has entered in for us and opened up the way. I can assure you, dear ones, that to the degree that you KNOW HIM in intimacy of fellowship and vital union, and submit to Him in all His will, ways, and dealings, you will know His authority in your life and be strengthened to reign with Him, and He will be able to reign through you in all things! It is not enough to know how God would have us think, act, and be as sons of God. There must be submission to Him, with daily inworkings of His nature, mind and power. When we obey men, our authority comes from men. When we obey God, the authority comes from God. And when we obey God – we REIGN!
“Our Lord Jesus Christ is THE SHEPHERD and THE PASTOR. It is also true that He has under-shepherds who assist in the care of the flock. An under-shepherd of the Chief Shepherd is merely a slave of God going about the business assigned him by the Master. There is a wonderful lesson Jesus taught in Luke 17:7-10 wherein He says, ‘But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.’
“When Jesus speaks of the role of a servant in this passage He uses the Greek word POIMAINO which means ‘to act as a shepherd.’ God does not approve of pastors who conceive of their role as giving them the right to push the sheep around! And even more importantly, it is not the business of the under-shepherds to lead the flock! Only one shepherd can lead. Only one shepherd is The Shepherd. The Shepherd leads the flock. The under-shepherds merely flank the sides and bring up the rear in order to make sure that all the flock FOLLOWS THE SHEPHERD. It is not God’s will for any one person, pastor or pope, to rule or lead a group of people; but neither is it His will for any number of persons to rule or lead a group! In other words what is worse than a one man ministry, is a many-man ministry. We have made this mistake so often. We say we believe in plural ministry; but in so doing we create a monster by making the ministry many-headed, instead of Christ being the one Head over all. A true spiritual ministry will never seek to draw people to himself, but rather to Christ. There are many movements in the earth today stressing ‘divine order’ and ‘authority’ and ‘submission,’ and one of the tests of what they teach is whether the people are being released to draw their life and substance from the Christ within or not. Many leaders and movements seek to bind people to their group and lead their followers to believe that they are the choice, select group God has chosen to complete His work in the earth, manifest sonship, and bring the sons into immortality and incorruption. Unless you are joined to them and submit to their ministry you just can’t make it in! When someone leaves the group or that leader, they are made to feel as if they are missing the purpose of God, have left the body of Christ, and have repudiated the High Calling of God. You must be spiritually wise to discern the spirit of any group or individual that usurps the headship of Jesus Christ by the indwelling Spirit over His people.
“Truly, the most faithful under – shepherd is not the Great Shepherd of the sheep. The brightest reflection of His beauty that is seen upon a servant, is not the revelation of Himself. Those who are closest to the Lord, who know Him best, and are more deeply conformed to His image, can only direct the searching soul to the Lord. They can never satisfy the hunger of the heart that is going out after Him. How we praise God for all the help we have received through every chosen vessel that He has used to draw us on toward Him, and into a deeper relation to Himself. With what gratitude to God do we remember those whom He has used to point out to us a nearer approach to our glorious Lord. How tenderly do we look back upon every faithful servant and child of His, who brought us new light, who stirred within us a deeper hunger for God, who opened to us an understanding of His great plan and purpose in us, who provoked us to holy jealousy and emulation through their godly lives. How we praise God for those who warned and instructed us through the exhortation and admonition that they gave in the hour of need, or in times of weakness and immaturity. How our hunger for Reality, and abandonment to God’s will and desire to follow Him all the way to Mount Zion, have been increased as we have seen that mysterious light which shines upon the faces of those who have soared with Him into the heavenly heights. While we thank God for every instrument He uses in our lives, how little one or all of these precious ones can be, compared with our Beloved, if in any way they take His place and draw us to themselves rather than to Himself. We must esteem every servant and instrument of God ‘exceeding highly in love for their work’s sake,’ but we must never permit them to usurp the place of the Good and Great and Chief Shepherd in our lives and affections. Therefore the elect of God in this hour have no desire for an under-shepherd to lead them; and when they do not yield to them, they appear as though they were a stranger. But that is not it at all – it is that the Lord Himself is becoming ALL to us!
“Oh, let us once for all grasp this one great fundamental truth. Christ’s church is not an organization, but an organism, a body, a living reality. He, and He alone, is the Head. But when man builds an organization, or a movement, or an assembly of which he himself is the head, and when he begins to legislate and pass church laws, and formulate creeds, and institute rituals, he is merely manifesting that both the system and he himself are spurious. Of course there are Christians in these organizations. Let us not lose sight of that fact. And let us not lose sight of the fact that many of the founders of these organizations were honest and sincere Christians. Yet they were ignorantly sincere. The whole trend of organization is to lead away from Christ the Head of the organism, away from the Christ within each member as the way, the truth, the life, the wisdom, the knowledge, and the righteousness of God. And it induces men to look to man, the head of the organization or movement.” —End quote. (J. Preston Eby, The Heavens Declare, Part 40)
NICOLATIANS [Charles W. Weller] 1