Church of God, New World Ministries

The New World Order And The Church - Part 1

All over the United States, you can hear church bells ringing during the week and on Sunday. But not all churches are so benign as they mighty seem. Here and there are small groups of survivalists, dressed in camouflaged military clothing, listening to their leaders invoking the names of Samson, King David and Jesus Christ, yet preaching survival and resistance. They are armed with semiautomatic rifles, deer rifles, and shotguns. They believe they will be the very last defense against a “new world order” they believe is poised to take over the United States. The “sermons” they hear are talks about resistance; about tactics and fighting. Are these groups, though few, also bona fide churches?

In addition to all the church buildings, there are thousands of groups meeting in rented halls, private homes, or tents. Why all these churches? Why are they different? Do they all offer the same thing, but by a different method, or system of belief? Are all their members “going to the same place”? Is a church a halfway house to heaven? Must you belong to a church in order to be saved? Can you be saved no matter which church you attend? Is church attendance required for salvation, or can a person forego attendance at any church and live his own life quietly, and still be admitted into God’s kingdom?

You will be astonished when you read the plain truth about why Jesus Christ said He would build His church. Millions of churchgoers flock to the pews each week, and yet do not know the real reason Jesus Christ commissioned His disciples!

It will astound them to learn that Jesus Christ trained His disciples to become future kings and priests, rulers with Him in a coming new government, which will indeed be a “new world order.” But it will not be the result of Christ’s people trying to physically overthrow existing governments!

Everyone knows about religious differences. From our earliest recollections of our own church experiences, or from our civics and history books in school, we learned that Jews and Christians are different: that the Jewish race generally speaking reject Christ as the Messiah, while nominal Christians believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

We know there are Buddhists, Shintoist, Taoists, Confucianists, Hindus, and adherents of Islam. Roman Catholicism, the Anglican Church, the Dutch Reformed Church, the Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Nazarenes, Church of Christ, First Christian Church, Pentecostal churches, and dozens more. It requires a sizeable book or a large section in an almanac just to list them all.

It is plain, from simply informing oneself about how many different churches there are, that they are not all together. They hold different beliefs and customs. Does any one of them believe they are wrong? When thousands of people find their way to their neighborhood church building each week, are they entering a building and participating in a worship service they believe is wrong. No, of course not.

But can all of them be right?

Obviously not, for they are deeply divided, and ne’er the twain shall meet There is deep-seated division between the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Division which caused the shedding of much blood: division which tore nations apart. Very large history books detail how and why the Church of England rejected the primacy of the popes in Rome, and how the Anglican Church was formed. There is a vast amount of literature available about the Protestant Reformation: how many millions of members in dozens of denominations refused to submit to the popes in Rome.

Clearly, if any one of these churches is 100% right, then all the others are wrong. There simply cannot be different churches, teaching different doctrines, with different customs and practices, who are part of an undivided church.

Some believe in baptism by immersion. Others believe in “baptism” by sprinkling or pouring a little water over the repentant believer. Some believe in the “christening ‘of a tiny infant, and others refuse to baptize children. Some believe the only proof of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues, while others completely reject this doctrine.

How many believe they are in an intensive training program to help Jesus Christ rule the world for one thousand years? How many believe they will soon be involved in abolishing crime, and abortion, and effecting massive, revolutionary changes in nations all over the world? How many believe they are learning how to govern under Christ.

After all, one of the important prophecies about Christ was that a future government would be on His shoulder: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David (an earthy throne), and upon His kingdom, to order it (to set up Christ’s new world order), and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even or ever. The zeal of the Eternal of hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:6-7).

Christ is prophesied to inherit an earthly throne, and to rule this world with a rod of iron: “And the angel said unto her, fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob (ten-tribed Israel) for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:30-33). For a thorough understanding of this vitally important prophecy, read our articles Britain and America In Prophecy. It shows where the earthy throne of David is located.

Christ’s end-time disciples are looking forward and praying continually for Jesus Christ to return to this earth, and to set up His world-ruling government here below. They know this will be done by divine miracles, and the awesome power of God, not by any human government, or by any human organization of any king. Some, however, believe they will bring about these massive changes by force of arms; that they will be the only survivors following a holocaust, the collapse of all civilization, and the death of hundreds of millions.

They are wrong. A new world order is coming, but it will not be brought about by human governments, or human churches, or human organizations such as militias. It will come about only as a result of direct divine intervention of God; by the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Meanwhile, there is nothing but confusion among the churches. Few see themselves as trainees for the Kingdom of God.

Many years ago, a story was told of a young man from Canada. It seems he lived in one the prairie provinces and was trudging down a country road one Sunday morning, headed toward his neighborhood church, which was perhaps a mile or two away, A neighboring farmer came alone in an old automobile, stopped and asked the lad if he wanted a ride.

Grateful, the boy hopped in. When his neighbor pulled into the church yard and allowed the boy to get out, the boy looked at him curiously. Obviously, he was dressed in his “Sunday-go-to-meeting” clothes, and was intending to go to church. Here they were in front of a church.

“Aren’t you going to come in?” the boy asked.

“Oh, I couldn’t to that,” the neighbor replied. “My church is a couple more miles down the road.”

The boy thanked his neighbor for the ride, and then, puzzled, watched him as he drove out of sight. In was some years later before the boy came to understand there were differences between those two churches out on the Canadian prairie, differences wider than the few miles that separated them by road.

Is the church of which Jesus Christ is the living Head divided?

Most, including the leadership and the members of dozens, if not hundreds, of churches and religious organizations would say, “Absolutely not!” Most of them know the scriptures about division in the church. But, deep down inside, there are reasons why they are not unified with other church or religious organizations. In each case, they feel those reasons are more than ample to justify their separate existence. Their reasons may range from minor doctrinal disagreements to administrative polices, to anger or miff over personalities.

God’s Word asks, “Is Christ divided” (I Cor. 1:13)? Thousands of professing Christians, divided into dozens of different churches and religious organizations, answer “No!” Yet, they belong to groups that have split off from other groups that may have split off from still a larger group, or they belong to a group that was formed as a separate church or ministry. Of course, each will be allowed to explain the rationale for such divisions to Jesus Christ at His return, but don’t believe for a moment that they do not have a ready-made answer concerning division in the church why they are “independent,” or why they will never reunify and cooperate with the group from which they came.

It is all a bit puzzling, a bit confusing. Jesus Christ did not build two churches, or three, or five. He built one true church. He said, ‘And I say also unto thee, that thou are Peter (Greek: Petros, a pebble, or stone), and upon this Rock (Greek: Petra, a large rock) I will build my church: and the gates of hell (Greek: hades, the grave) shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

As you will read later on, Jesus called Simon by this “nickname” only twice in all the Gospels. The name was not a lofty title connoting great strength, but a name placed in opposition to the Rock which was Christ; a name meaning “little pebble” by comparison; a name connoting weakness, not strength.

This one verse is easily the subject of a very thick book. Millions believe Christ was building His church on Peter as the first pope, the “chief apostle.”

Millions more know better. The Rock upon which Christ was to build His church was Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus Christ is the living Head of His church, and not any man.

Jesus Christ was set at the right hand of God the Father, “Far 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: And hath 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 fills all in all” (Eph. 1:21-23).

Paul wrote to the Colossians, “And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (study John 1 and Hebrews 1). 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: (Col. 1:17-18). Peter did not have the preeminence, and was not the head of the church. Jesus Christ constituted His church, and has always been, as He is today, at this moment, the true Head of that church!

The “Rock” of which Jesus spoke was Himself, not Peter. The word He used for “Peter”, which means a pebble, or a stone, like one might pick up along a stream bed. Because Peter was to become one of the chiefest (not the chief) apostles; because he had dynamic personality, and was a leader among the three leading apostles, Jesus Christ endowed him with an affectionate “nickname” Petros. His given name was Simon.

The Greek language has masculine and feminine gender, as do the Romance languages. In Spanish, “a table” is feminine, la mesa, introduced by the feminine la, and ending in the letter a. “The roof “is masculine, el techo, introduced by the masculine el, and ending in o.

Petra in Greek, means a very large rock, a mountain of rock, or even a mountain range, whereas Petros means “pebble.” Jesus was saying, “You (Peter, or Petros) are a stone; but upon this Rock (Myself! Petra) I will build my church!” Christ is the Rock, not Peter.

“He is the Rock, He work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He” (Deut. 32:4).

“Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee” (v. 18).

David wrote, “The Eternal is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my Strength, in whom I will trust” (Ps. 18:2)! Later, in the same chapter, “For who is God save the Eternal? Or who is a Rock save our God” (v. 31)?

David refers to the Divine Sovereign God as His Rock more than 15 times throughout the Psalms. He wrote, “He only is my Rock and my salvation; He is my defense, I shall not be greatly moved” (Ps. 62:2).

When God caused Israel to trek through the wilderness for a testing period of 40 years, He performed awesome miracles to feed them, and provide them drink. He brought water out of a rock for them. Paul wrote, “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; And were baptized unto Moses and in the cloud and in the sea (this is spiritual metaphor, a type); And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10:1-4).

Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the “Rock” upon which He built His church. No human being has ever been given headship over the true church. Halley’s Bible Handbook, speaking of the Catholic claim of Peter’s “primacy,” says, “The Roman Catholic tradition that Peter was the First Pope is Fiction pure and simple. There is no New Testament hint, and no historical evidence whatever that Peter was at any time Bishop of Rome. Nor did he ever claim for himself such Authority as the Popes have claimed for themselves. It seems that Peter had a divine foreboding that his ‘successors’ would be mainly concerned with ‘Lording it over God’s flock, rather than showing themselves Examples to the flock’ (I Peter 5:3)” (Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 768).

Church history proves that many centuries passed before any claim was made that one man was head of the church. “Silvester I (314-335) was Bishop of Rome when, under Constantine, Christianity was virtually made the State Religion of the Roman Empire. The Church immediately became an institution of vast important in World Politics. Constantine regarded himself as Head of the Church. He called the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325), and presided over it, the First World Council of the Church. This Council accorded the Bishops of Alexandria and Antioch full jurisdiction their Provinces, as the Roman Bishop had over his, with not even a hint that they were subject to Rome” (ibid., p. 769).

Peter was never the head of God’s true church. Paul, who was the apostle to the gentiles, wrote to the church in Rome. The book of Romans makes no mention whatever of Peter; his name is not included in the lengthy personal greetings Paul includes in the 16th chapter.

Paul insisted that he was in every way Peter’s equal! He wrote, “For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles (note the plural)” (II Cor. 11:5). He said, “I am become a fool in glorying; ye compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing” (II Cor. 12:11).

Who were the “very chiefest” apostles? They were James, Peter and John. It was these three who were allowed to see the Transfiguration. James made the final decision at the Jerusalem conference about circumcision (Acts 15:13-19).

Peter was an apostle among equals, as the Bible makes clear. Notice how, when Philip preached the gospel in Samaria, and great miracles occurred, word reached Jerusalem. “Now when the apostles (note the plural) which were at Jerusalem head that Samaria had received the word of God, then sent unto them Peter and John; who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:14-15).

Notice who was sent. Peter and John were sent to Samaria. By whom? By other apostles who were at Jerusalem, without doubt including James who was Jesus’ half-brother. Peter did not do the sending. He was not the “chief apostle” at all. He was sent by others.

The word apostle is not a lofty title. It connotes no special authority, or “rank.” It is a very humble word which connotes a function of service not an “office.” The word merely means “one send.” Bear in mind when remembering the commission Jesus Christ gave to His disciples. He sent them into all the world to preach the gospel.

To ask “What is the church?” seems elementary. Yet, look at all the confusion concerning the answer to such a quotation.

To millions of human beings, the church is a building, such as a cathedral, a basilica, or a lofty structure of stone with tall steeples and signs of the cross. When one says, “I am going to church,” he implies he is going to go to services in a building called a church.

To millions more, a “church” is a denomination, or a religious organization. But the original Greek word means no such thing.

Jesus said, “I will build my ekklesia.” In the Latin languages, the similarity to Greek is more obvious. In Spanish, the word for “church” is iglezia. In French, it is Iglize. A more obvious English word is “ecclesiastic, “or having to do with the “ecclesia.” The original word means nothing more than “assembly,” or “group.” A Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance explains, it also connotes a “calling out.” The expression “called-out ones” is entirely appropriate.

How different this expression is from our commonly-used English word church.

Jesus Christ did not intend to build a large, political organization which would become involved with the governments of this world. He had called His disciples out of this evil world for a great purpose: “I have given them thy word: and the world (the present evil society, or social system) hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14-16).

Jesus promised His disciples they would be persecuted in this world: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Christ’s fledging group of “called-out ones,” who were to form the nucleus of His church, were continually warned about false apostles, false teachers, persecutors, and detractors. The were warned that performing Christ’s commission might result in their deaths in some cases.

“They shall put you out of the synagogues (churches): yea, the time comes, that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service” (v. 2).

One of the main thrusts of Jesus’ message to His disciples was to avoid being part of the world. John wrote: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists; whereby we know it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (I John 2:15-19).

Paul warned the Ephesian elders with similar words: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church (assembly of called-out ones) of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20: 28-30).

Always, Jesus Christ described His church, or His fledgling group of specially-called disciples, as the “little flock,” which would be persecuted by the world. He said, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). The Bible characterizes the great, politically powerful churches as “Babylon the Great” (Rev. 17:1-5). He commanded His people, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4).

As Halley says, “The Church was founded, not as an institution of Authority to Force the Name and Teaching of Christ upon the world, but only as a Witness-Bearing institution to Christ, to hold Him before the people. Christ Himself, not the church, is the Transforming Power in Human Life. But the church was founded in the Roman Empire, and gradually developed a form of Government like the Political World in which it existed, becoming a vast Autocratic organization, rule from the top” (Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 767).

Never did Jesus Christ intend for His true church to become involved in politics. Never did He intend for it to become a powerful geopolitical organization, wielding control over people’s individual lives, and over governments. Rather, His group of called-out ones was to carry the message of Christs’ soon-coming, world-ruling government the Kingdom of God as a witness and a warning! His group would be like “ambassadors” of a yet future government which would bring this world peace at last. (Send for our FREE DVD, “Politics and Religion”).

What is a church? It consists of a group of people called out of this sin-sick, evil world; a group of people who will be engaged in fulfilling the commission Jesus Christ gave to His original disciples! It is only possible to understand what the church is when one understands what Jesus Christ told the church to do - what it was to accomplish!

Be watching for the second part of this article coming soon.

 
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