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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Church In The Wilderness



It has previously been written, in a past article, that the woman who fled to the wilderness, in Revelation 12, is the same woman in the wilderness sitting on the scarlet beast in Revelation 17.  Women in the Wilderness 

Revelation 12:14 NET  But the woman was given the two wings of a giant eagle so that she could fly out into the wilderness, to the place God prepared for her, where she is taken care of — away from the presence of the serpent — for a time, times, and half a time.

Revelation 12:17 NET  So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep God's commandments and hold to the testimony about Jesus.

Considering the decision of the dragon to go and make war on her children i.e. those who keep God's commandments and hold to the testimony about Jesus, there is a high probability the woman is the Church.  For somewhat over a thousand years after Revelation was drafted, the Church was primarily the Roman Church.

The early Church around Jerusalem came under great tribulation from the Temple leaders and were scattered around the Middle East and Southeast Europe beginning their time in the wilderness.  When prominence was vested in the church after it became a legal religion, power increased within the Roman seat and also later in the Eastern seat in Constantinople.  Eventually, all religious power rested within the Roman Church structure for all of Europe, Northern Africa, and many of the Eastern areas.

The First Wilderness Wandering

The Israelites had the Passover faith to pack up their belongings and leave Egypt under the leadership of Moses.  When they arrived at Sinai, God appeared to Moses as a flame or a fire with thunders and lightning.  Later, after Moses met with God on several occasions, the congregation was asked to listen to the voice of God as He desired to give them the laws and commandments.

At the sight and sound of the smoke, thundering, and lightning, the people were fearful and refused to allow God to appear and speak in their presence.  Their decision was for Moses to go up the mountain, listen to the words of God, and then repeat the information to them.  During Moses’ trip to listen to God on Sinai, the congregation molded a golden calf, which resulted in idolatry worship.

For some reason the Israelites lost the faith that took them out of Egypt.  From this point onward their lack of faith in the power of God continued in various ways and became a disaster for all the people except Caleb and Joshua.  The story spoken by ten of the twelve spies exploring the land spoke of giant men and the people became fearful and refused to enter the land.  As a result God assigned the congregation to wander in the wilderness for a total of forty years until all adults died except of course for Joshua and Caleb.

Exodus 20:18-21 NET  All the people were seeing the thundering and the lightning, and heard the sound of the horn, and saw the mountain smoking — and when the people saw it they trembled with fear and kept their distance. 

(19)  They said to Moses, "You speak to us and we will listen, but do not let God speak with us, lest we die."  

(20)  Moses said to the people, "Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you so that you do not sin."  (21)  The people kept their distance, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.

The Church in the Wilderness

Similar to the Israelites at Sinai, the Church people did not listen to God.  The major cause of this inability to listen to God was due to the Roman Church denying access to the Bible.  The Bible chained to the front of the Cathedral was written in Latin that no one could read except for the priests.  All vernacular translations of the scriptures were forbidden and only approved hints of the substance of the Bible were given only by the priests.  The result was similar to the “fake news” debacle occurring within the USA today.  Whatever the Roman Church reported as “Christian” was readily accepted by the majority as truth.

Israel’s lack of faith caused them to worship the golden calf shortly after failing to hear God for themselves. In fact, their shortage of faith during their entire wilderness wandering meant that most were led by the flesh, rather than by the Spirit. The flesh is always an inner “harlot” that leads us to worship the golden calf in some manner. On a corporate scale (including Protestant groups), the church has had the same problem throughout the entire church age.  The seven letters to the seven churches, at the beginning of the Revelation addresses the lack of faith mentality of the churches, from the beginning to the present.

Martin Luther posted his 95 thesis in 1517.  He translated the New Testament from Greek to a vernacular German in 1522 and the complete Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments in 1534.  The printing press was also developed during the same time period (brought to Eastern Europe by the Mongol invasion) which greatly aided the distribution of the Bible, which people could read for themselves in their own language for the first time since the initiation of the Roman Church.

Israel, prior to the division after the death of Solomon, brought forth David (with the assistance of God).  Although David greatly sinned with the Bathsheba affair (he later repented) he ruled Israel as a follower of God and His laws.  After the division, northern Israel was termed a harlot by Hosea.  Later, southern Judah was cast out for their idol worshipping harlotry and placed under the rule of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and finally Rome.  Afterwards, the majority of the Church have been disqualified from ruling the coming Kingdom of God due to their idolatry and lack of faith concerning the true workings of God.

In the days of Elijah, God said that only 7000 souls have not disqualified themselves by worshipping Baal.  In like manner, according to God through Paul, there is currently only a remnant that is free of the harlotry of idolatry.  This remnant, sometimes called the elect or the overcomers are the ones truly chosen to participate as leaders during the Kingdom of God. 

Romans 11:4-5 KJV  But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.  (5)  Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

In the Days of Noah

Immediately prior to the flood, Noah and his family entered the ark and the flood took them away.  In like manner, the return of Jesus will envision some taken away and others will be left.

Matthew 24:38-40 KJV  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,  (39)  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  (40)  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

There are several interpretations for this passage and the majority of them are in error.  “They were eating and drinking, etc.” refers to the general population.  Noah and his family entered the ark during this event or time.  No one knew about the nature of rain or vast amounts of water coming forth from the ground, including Noah and his family.  Thus when the flood came, even though Noah was unaware of the process, the water took them away as they were aboard the ark.  The general population outside the ark, most likely knew much more about the origin of the water than Noah since they were watching it happen.

One so-called seer teaches that the people taken away in verse 40 are taken to hell.  Although a fiery hell of eternal punishment does not exist, it could mean they are terminated and sent to the grave which is the actual meaning of hell and Hades.  However, both scenarios are false.  Salvation, Hell, & Resurrection

The ones taken in verse 40 are the elect, the overcomers, or the remnant.  The popular explanatory word is the Latin translation of “rapture”.  Before they are taken, the remnant of the days of Elijah plus many other deceased elect will be caught up first and then the living overcomers will join them.

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