As the Lord led last week, I wrote to exhort and encourage His faithful as we go together through this unprecedented time of the Coronavirus pestilence upon the world as judgment from Him. The exhortation was to go to and remain in God’s Word as His foretold days of judgment continue to unfold and escalate; the encouragement to draw comfort and hope from God and through His Word in the process.1 Today, the Lord would rebuke and instruct those who profess to know Him, but are incredulous there is any judgment from Him because it has included their being put out of their churches as supposedly His house. However, this is not the first time God has done this in judgment.
Incredulity that God would ever put professed Christians out of His house should not be among folk that claim to be so in touch with Him and His Word. But this haughtiness arises exactly from the fact some of those who have this false thinking do not actually know God in Christ (Matthew 7:21-23) or His Word (1 Corinthians 15:34). Others know what the Word says on the topic historically, but choose for whatever motives to willfully ignore it. For not only did God evict His ancient people, the Jews (our example in everything) from their meeting places with Him, but He destroyed those places in wrath because of their sins (Jeremiah 7:12-15, 52:12-13; Mark 13:1-2; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11)!
So, where do Christians that are guilty of the same kind of sins that led to God forcefully evicting the Jewish people from their designated meeting places with Him get off thinking they are somehow in a better position in His eyes to avoid this? Yes, with them in Christ we have “a better covenant, which was established on better promises,” (Hebrews 8:6, NKJV). But nowhere in the New Covenant or God’s related promises does He take sin off the table as something He will no longer be concerned about. Truly, the Christian has a greater accountability before God for sin because we believed the Gospel of Christ to be saved from it (Luke 12:47-48; Romans 6:1-7; Hebrews 10:26-31)!
Neither the Lord nor His apostles make His Church about physical buildings, but the people who purposely assemble to Him by faith (Matthew 16:13-18)! Whether it was the Lord with His disciples or them after His departure, buildings were only mere tools used to facilitate the purposes and activities involved in meeting together (Mark 14:12-17; Acts 1:9-14, 2:40-47, 18:5-11, 19:1-10). Nowhere in the New Testament is anyone commanded or instructed by Christ to build Him an edifice as part of a sacred, required meeting place with Him for worship or any other purpose since He had taught true worship of God going forward from Him is “in spirit and truth,” (John 4:19-26, NKJV).
Moreover, the overarching eternal reality of the Church Christ builds and Heads with each soul assembled to Him by faith is relational and spiritual (Luke 23:39-43; Ephesians 1:3-14, 22-23). Too, the body of each believer on earth is a temple of God (John 2:19-21, 14:23; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20). With those already in Heaven we are at one and the same time as Paul teaches both “the household of God” the Father as spiritual family and a house for His everlasting abode. Not only is each one in Christ both family and a house, but as Peter also instructs, we are together “being built up a spiritual house;” in it serving as a “holy priesthood,” (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-6, NKJV).
We are God’s house! Even so, God in His wisdom provided the means for His redeemed to temporarily meet together while on earth at the Jewish Temple, in homes, previously constructed buildings and those built for that purpose to this day. Christians have also met outdoors and because of persecution, literally underground!2 The buildings were and are His house too, because He owns everything and to the extent real Christians assemble in them to carry out the biblically commanded mission of Christ. The buildings are all temporary because the existence of and Christ’s mission for mortal Christians in this present age before His return are (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).
Indeed, as the Lord led me to launch this year writing, only the individual Christians in local churches with ears that heard what the Spirit said to seven first century churches of Asia will be found standing in immortal glory at His return!3 None of those seven churches of Asia with many others of history remain, underscoring the reality of their temporary nature. And while persecution has had much to do with why local churches have disappeared from existence in their times, when His biblically rooted purposes are no longer primary through disobedience, corruption, wickedness and apostasy, the Lord Himself will shut them down as I am a witness and even destroy the buildings as foretold among the ways He judges (Revelation 2:1-7, 17:15-18:8, 19:1-4).4
1 Read the August 16, 2020 post, To The Word Of God!, under the category, Encouragement.
2 Most of the preaching and ministry along with teaching and training of His disciples by the Lord Jesus was done outdoors. Mountains, forests, fields, caves, waterways,
deserts, prisons, the catacombs of Rome--you name it beyond buildings, faithful Christians have assembled there in the Spirit, with the Lord to this hour and will do so
until the end!
3 See the two-part post beginning January 5, 2020, Revelation’s Seven Churches In Time, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
4 Read the August 23, 2015 post, Babylon Is Falling!, under the category, Bible Prophecy. Also, read the reposts of my own experience with the judgment of God upon
local churches and prophecy He gave me concerning them beginning on August 30, 2015 with When Strong Men Of God Weep, followed by Death Of A Church--One
Year Later and Praise For The Lord God Almighty! These were all posted under the category, Glory To God!
In light of what the Lord led me to write in the two-part post, Flavorless Salt Is Worthless, under the category, Call To Repent beginning August 2, 2020, He has given me a word of exhortation and encouragement for all of us that will be His faithful during these times of spiritual confusion, apostasy and His judgment. We or our faithful spiritual descendants that endure until the Lord comes as promised are not the first to have to live through such days waiting on Him to bring about deliverance and reversal. God’s faithful are a who’s who on His roll call of faith in the Bible that surround us as “so great a cloud of witnesses” headed up by our Lord Jesus Himself (Hebrews 11:4-12:2, NKJV)!
Among God’s faithful listed by the writer of Hebrews and inspirational to me personally serving by appointment of the Lord, are the Old Testament prophets in whose office of responsibility I also serve according to Ezekiel 33:1-9 during this New Testament era (Ephesians 4:11-16). One of the major Old Testament prophets was Isaiah who was called and used mightily by God to speak, write and act out His Word amidst the divided house of Israel, though, his messages were primarily to the two southern tribes and kingdom of Judah (Isaiah 6). Over 2,700 years later, those messages for the people and personalities of his times are saturated with prophetic import that reaches us today.
Up through the eighth chapter of his book, Isaiah foretells the judgment of God upon Judah for sin and imminent invasion of the northern kingdom’s ten tribes by the dominant power of the day, Assyria, for the wickedness of spiritual confusion and apostasy fed by idolatry. In that eighth chapter too, he is instructed by God about how he and all the other faithful to Him were to handle themselves during the times of spiritual confusion and apostasy that continued and while His judgment was taking place. For the faithful are not so by title or conferral of men, but as the very real description of their lives, words and deeds lined up with the character of God and His Word (Deuteronomy 7:9-11)!1
Like Isaiah and the faithful of his day, God first instructs us to “not walk in the way of this people;” the disobedient and unfaithful that in their spiritual blindness get caught up in the confusion of speculative conspiracy theories about the times. This is evidence that people have spun conspiracy theories from ancient times! The only difference today is the technology leap that has allowed the innumerable and rapid proliferation of these conspiracy theories and opinions. God also instructs Isaiah and us not to be terrified by or live in dread of the people or the content of their conspiracy theories, but fear the holy God alone and take refuge in Him (Isaiah 8:11-14a, NKJV).
To the unfaithful that choose not to fear God and let Him be their “sanctuary,” He will be “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” as in Jesus Christ, His Son, He has been “to both the houses of Israel” in unbelief; “a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem” to this hour! The unfaithful “stumble” (fall away) and become captives to Satan for destruction because of their unbelief fed disobedience to “the Word,” (Isaiah 8:14b-15; 1 Peter 2:6-8, NKJV).2 Seeing the end for the unfaithful, Isaiah exhorts his “disciples” as also God’s to “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among” themselves; “wait on the Lord” in the time of judgment and “hope in Him,” (Isaiah 8:16-17, NKJV).
Isaiah presented himself and his two sons with God given names of prophetic significance that when fulfilled, would be additional affirmation of the right choice the faithful make to trust in God and His Word (Isaiah 8:18). We have the joy of that additional affirmation of God’s prophetic Word fulfilled in experiencing the power of the first coming of Christ through the Holy Spirit as testified to by His eyewitness apostles (Acts 2:1-39; Hebrews 2:10-18; 2 Peter 1:16-21; 1 John 1:1-4)! So, as Isaiah admonishes, we do not consult with psychics or the occult; nor do we trust in “lying wonders” Satan will soon be allowed to perform or blindly stay tethered to local churches under judgment where false teaching is going forth (Isaiah 8:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 18:1-8, NKJV).3
Indeed, many of the elder faithful in this generation rightly understand their faithfulness has been displayed in part by their attendance, participation in and financial support of a local church. However, as God has had me warning many years, not only can a local church become corrupt, but He shuts them down in judgment as thousands per year have been before His Coronavirus judgment.4 Now, in His Coronavirus judgment where most churches have been temporarily closed by government safety decree, we are to clearly understand it is not attendance and participation at buildings God values above all, but obedience!5 Therefore, if a local church is not being obedient to God’s Word, the faithful are to leave after lovingly attempting to urge repentance if possible.
For the faithful in all epochs the rallying cry is “to the Word of God” as it is written--undiluted, uncorrupted and uncompromised (Isaiah 8:20)! Even knowing there were some minor human copyist errors in the Old Testament scrolls He read and quoted from that adversaries love to point up, the Lord Jesus staked His life and teaching ministry on the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11, 5:17-48; Luke 4:16-21); His apostles, its perpetual trustworthiness and value to believers (2 Timothy 3:13-17). In a time of spiritual darkness, confusion, apostasy and God’s judgment (Isaiah 8:21-22), the faithful look to, trust in and stand on the Word of God to endure to the end He has prepared; for we have seen and know the “great light” that has dawned and is soon to overspread the earth (Isaiah 9:1-7, NKJV).
1 Because of this truth, in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, I am led by the Lord to teach faithfulness as a fruit of the Spirit and required character
trait of aspiring strong men and great women of God in His image! A print copy or digital download of the book is available at major internet booksellers such as
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also purchase a print copy in the Strong Man Store.
2 Read the February 2, 2014 post, The Falling Away, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
3 See the two-part post that begins May 21, 2017, Beware False And Deceitful Brethren, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
4 Read the reposts chronicling my own experience with the judgment of God upon local churches and prophecy He gave me concerning them beginning on August 30,
2015 with When Strong Men Of God Weep, followed by Death Of A Church--One Year Later and Praise For The Lord God Almighty! These were all posted under the
category, Glory To God!
5 This being true as the whole Bible teaches, a number of pastors are bringing shame on Christ and the faith by insisting on holding gatherings at their buildings in dis-
obedience to the government. This is not about Constitutional rights and government intrusion into religion, but righteous submission and obedience to a secular
government’s best effort to fulfill its divine mandate to protect its citizens from harm. And professed Christians that ostensibly answer to the God that brought the pes-
tilence are being disobedient claiming a right to worship? If we really want to worship God that bad, have we forgotten the individual Christian in any circumstance
always can since our bodies are His temples (John 2:19-21; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20)? Also, God is not doing a new thing in our not being able to assemble at
buildings. He has reminded us of the old thing from His Word where the smallest corporate form of the local church is a family in a house with teaching and worship
led by men as His chosen heads if there (Acts 2:44-47; Romans 16:3-5; 1 Timothy 3:1-7). Get the free download, Men Leading Family Worship At Home in the
Strong Man Store for such times as these and till the end. Otherwise, we know what is really behind the pushback by some pastors and churches to the point of
being willing to put people in harm’s way: the loss of income. Rather than disobeying the governing authorities trying to protect people, I exhort all to take their instruc-
tions on public gatherings as from God and His call to repent seriously during His Coronavirus judgment (Isaiah 26:20-21; 1 Peter 2:11-17)!
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