Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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April 22, 2013
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April 22, 2013
Fall Upon The Rock Or Be Ground To Powder, We Are Pillars And Living Stones In God's Spiritual Temple, His Spirit Dwells In Us, Upper Room Where Passover Meal Was Held, Upper Room Where Eleven Apostles Were After Jesus' Ascension, Church Buildings Did Not Exist During The First Century, Emperor Constantine Helena and Theodosius I Legalize Roman Catholicism And Begin Church And Cathedral Construction Boom, Severe Persecution By Both Jews And Romans Made Church Construction Impossible For First Century Christians, There Were Not One Hundred Twenty People In The Upper Room, Disciples Hide Behind Locked Doors For Fear Of The Jews, Jesus Commands The Apostles To Wait In Jerusalem For Gift Of Holy Spirit, Only Eleven Apostles Are In The Upper Room, Spiritual Unity And Being Of One Accord, Apostle Peter Addresses The One Hundred And Twenty Disciples
Not only is Jesus the Cornerstone and the Foundation Stone of our true spiritual Temple, but the Scriptures -- and the Lord Himself -- warn us that if we do not voluntarily fall upon Him in humble submission to His Will for each of our lives, being the Rock that He is, He will have no choice but to grind us to powder. Consider the following verses:
"Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces . . . And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever."
Daniel 2:34, 44, KJV
"Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."
Psalms 2:6-9, KJV
"And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
Matthew 21:44, KJV
"Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
Luke 20:18, KJV
"And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne."
Revelation 12:5, KJV
"And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."
Revelation 19:15, KJV
"For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."
Romans 14:11, KJV
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:9-11, KJV
While Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone and Foundation Stone of our spiritual Temple, as some of the previous verses reveal, we -- His spiritually-adopted children -- are the pillars and "lively stones" which form the rest of His Temple. This truth is likewise made evident by the following verses where we can plainly see that our bodies of flesh actually serve as vessels or temples for the Spirit of God which dwells in each one of us. We should not look for a physical Kingdom, because it is already within us when we accept the Spirit of Christ:
"And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
Luke 17:20-21, KJV
"Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said."
John 2:19-22, KJV
"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
Romans 8:9-11, KJV
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
1 Corinthians 3:16-17, KJV
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJV
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved [meaning our body of flesh], we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
2 Corinthians 5:1, KJV
"And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
2 Corinthians 6:16-18, KJV
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
Ephesians 2:19-22, KJV
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."
Ephesians 3:14-19, KJV
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"
1 Peter 2:5-9, KJV
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."
Revelation 3:12, KJV
Over and over again we see the very same truth being revealed in the Scriptures. Jesus said it, and the Apostles taught it. There can be no mistake about this. We are the living Temple of the living God. His Temple, His Church, is not some cold, dead -- both physically and spiritually speaking -- church building that is constructed of concrete and steel. Have you been convinced yet? Is your heart open to the truth of God's Word? Are your spiritual eyes open?
Despite this preponderance of Scriptural evidence, there are still many Christians -- meaning priests, pastors, ministers, churchgoers, etc. -- who continue to adamantly insist that a church building is the house of God, even though He Himself has plainly informed us through His own recorded Word that He does not live there, that He does not want to live there, and that He does not even like such buildings. They are a little too small for the Creator of the Universe, it seems. Excuse my sarcasm. Thus, these blind religionists still try to find verses in the Bible which -- in their view -- seem to support their erroneous interpretation of God's Word. One example that was recently brought to my attention concerns the upper room.
There are actually two mentions of an upper room in the New Testament. The first of these was the place where the Lord ate the Passover meal with the Apostles just prior to His betrayal by Judas, and subsequent arrest and Crucifixion, as we see by the following verses:
"And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover? And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover."
Mark 14:12-16, KJV
"Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover."
Luke 22:7-13, KJV
Please note that in the previous verses, the phrase "upper room" is derived from the Greek word "anogeon". This word simply means anything that is above ground, or a room that is located in the upper portion of a house. It has no other significance than that. The word "guestchamber" is derived from the Greek word "kataluma". In this case it signifies a an eating room or dining room. We likewise find mention of an upper room in the first chapter of the Book of Acts. In this case, the phrase "upper room" is derived from the Greek word "huperoon". Similar to "anogeon", this word also refers to the highest part of a house, or the upper rooms or story where the women resided. Sometimes it was built on the flat roof of the house:
"Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus."
Acts 1:12-16, KJV
The above verses are the ones with which we are concerned, because they are apparently used by certain religionists to try to convince people that our Christian forefathers built church buildings during the First Century. At least that is the impression I was given by someone who challenged me in a recent online discussion. This particular person seemed to indicate that he believed that this upper room was a church building in which were gathered one hundred and twenty First Century Christians, similar to a small church today.
At first glance, and without taking a closer look at these verses, this may seem to be the case. However, I assure you that these verses are by no means describing a First Century church building. Churches -- meaning church buildings -- did not exist at that time. The church construction business did not begin until several centuries later during the formative years of the Roman Catholic Church under Emperor Constantine and his mother Helena. This activity began during the first half of the Fourth Century. They became seriously involved in the church and cathedral -- or basilica -- construction business; particularly after Theodosius I made Catholicism the enforced state religion of the Roman Empire during the final quarter of that same century. As I point out in such articles as "Pontifex Maximus: Pagan High Priest to Roman Catholic Pope", it was either join the new state religion, or face the possibility of being persecuted.
The truth of the matter is that even if the First Century Apostles had wanted to build churches -- which they didn't -- it would have been totally impossible for them to do so due to the serious persecution which they faced from both the Jews, as well as the Romans. Let's not forget that their ringleader -- meaning Jesus, of course -- had just recently been cruelly killed by the very same people who now began to persecute them as well. This persecution against the Lord's children grew even more severe in later decades and centuries under the reigns of emperors Nero and Diocletian. The Lord had warned His followers that this would be their fate, and the Apostles wrote about it as well, as we can determine by verses such as the following:
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another."
Matthew 24:9-10, KJV
"But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls."
Luke 21:12-19, KJV
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me."
John 15:18-21, KJV
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:"
2 Timothy 2:12, KJV
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
2 Timothy 3:12, KJV
You will find a lot more similar verses regarding this same topic in the "Persecution of the First Century Church" KJV Bible verse list. Thus, as a result of the persecution which began with the Lord Himself, and which then affected His own followers to different degrees for a number of centuries to come, the idea of church buildings being constructed during the middle of the First Century -- and for a few centuries afterwards -- is quite ludicrous, to say the least.
At any rate, it is obvious that the upper room was a room that was located on the second floor -- or possibly on the roof -- of someone's home. Perhaps it was even the same place where Jesus ate the Passover meal with His Disciples, although there is no clear way to absolutely confirm this idea. So the questions we need to ask ourselves are actually two: Who was in the upper room, and why were they there? If you believe that there were one hundred and twenty people staying or living in this upper room, allow me to inform you that you are mistaken. Don't feel bad. When this individual first brought these verses to my attention in order to try to give credence to his erroneous belief regarding a First Century church building, I too had a lopsided understanding of them, until I took a closer look at the verses, and then conducted a bit of Biblical research.
Contrary to this person's belief, there were not one hundred and twenty people crammed into the upper room. I honestly do not know how large the average First Century Jewish home was, but unless the person was extremely rich, I seriously doubt that this upper room was big enough to hold so large a number of people anyway. Please note that while in the English text the word that is used in verse thirteen is "abode", it does not mean "live" or "home" as it does in our modern English language. It is derived from the Greek word "en", which is the imperfect tense of the verb "eimi". This word means to be or to exist in this particular case. Thus, in verse thirteen, the word "abode" actually means "were". In other words, they were in the upper room, but they were not necessarily living in the upper room. We really don't know for certain.
However, my inclination is to believe that they may have been in this upper room on a temporary basis. Before I explain to you who the "they" is, let's determine why they were there in the first place. As the following verses clearly explain, the Apostles were afraid of the Jewish religious elders. After all, those devil-inspired reprobates had turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate -- who was the Roman governor of Judaea at the time -- to be crucified on the false charge of treason, only three days earlier. It is in this dangerous environment that we find the Apostles hiding behind locked doors, as we can easily determine by these verses:
"Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you . . . And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you."
John 20:19, 26, KJV
But that is not the only reason why the Apostles were found together at that time in the upper room. You may recall that in Acts chapter one, during the forty days that He remained on the Earth following His Resurrection from the Dead, Jesus specifically told them to wait in Jerusalem for the Gift of the Holy Spirit, which in fact occurred in Acts chapter two. This commandment was given to them just prior to the Lord's Ascension to Heaven, as we can easily determine here:
"The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."
Acts 1:1-5, KJV
So what happened immediately after Jesus had given them this order to return to Jerusalem, and then ascended to Heaven in a "cloud" which took Him and carried Him away? The following two verses inform us that the eleven remaining Apostles did exactly as Jesus had told them to do; that is, they returned to the city of Jerusalem -- which was very close by -- and they entered into the upper room. That is how and why they came to be in that particular place:
"Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James."
Acts 1:12-13, KJV
Whether or not this was the same exact room that is mentioned in the Gospel of John, we really don't know. Neither do we know if it is the same upper room where the Passover meal was held. Considering the dangerous environment which existed for the remaining Apostles at that time, maybe they were forced to move around continually and stay short periods in each "safe house". On the other hand, if we consider that Jesus Himself had specifically chosen the upper room where the Passover meal was held -- no doubt because He knew that it was a safe place for Him and His followers -- perhaps the Eleven chose that place as their base of operations from that point forward.
Now, please pay close attention, because this is where the church deception enters into the picture. We have just seen not only why they were in the upper room, but who was in it as well. We are specifically told that the eleven Apostles entered into this room, and we are even given their exact names. There were eleven people in that room, and not one hundred and twenty, as this particular person wanted me to believe. Eleven people -- and not one hundred and twenty of them -- being in the upper room of a First Century dwelling seems to make a lot more sense to me. It is right after this that we read the following verses which describe the tight spiritual unity which existed between the eleven Apostles -- that is, the "these" in the following two verses -- and the other Disciples, which also included the other women, Mary -- Jesus' biological mother -- and Jesus' biological siblings as well:
"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)"
Acts 1:14-15, KJV
Please note that the phrase "one accord" does not mean that they all lived together in the upper room. Based on what I understand regarding First Century Jewish society, laws and customs, a whole bunch of men and women -- particularly if they were single -- would not have lived together in such close proximity to each other. Such an arrangement would not have been acceptable by any means. The phrase "one accord" is derived from the compound Greek word "homothumadon" which means to be of one mind or with one passion. This very same attitude regarding spiritual unity is expressed in verses such as the following:
"And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are . . . That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
John 17:11, 21-23, KJV
"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
John 10:16, KJV
"That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 15:6, KJV
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
1 Corinthians 1:10, KJV
"Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."
2 Corinthians 13:11, KJV
"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace . . . That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
Ephesians 4:1-3, 14-16, KJV
"Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;"
Philippians 1:27, KJV
"Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."
Philippians 2:2, KJV
As I have already explained, the way in which the previous two verses are used to try to deceive people, is by throwing them altogether, and claiming that the Apostles, the women, Mary, Jesus' siblings, and all of these other Disciples were basically involved in a church service in the upper room in Jerusalem. In other words, the upper room was supposedly their church. However, that is not what those two verses say whatsoever. What they do say is that eleven men -- that is, the Apostles -- were in the upper room. The Apostles were in spiritual unity with the other people who are mentioned, but those other people are not living or staying in that upper room.
Now here is something which you may not realize if you're not reading the King James Version of the Bible. At the beginning of verse fifteen right before the words "And in those days", there is a paragraph symbol. While the original Hebrew and Greek texts did not use chapters, paragraphs or even verse numbers, I believe that the reason why the translators may have placed a paragraph symbol there, is to force the reader to stop, and to realize that there is a time gap and a change of events. In other words, the Apostles going into the upper room occurred at one point in time, and then Peter standing up before the one hundred and twenty Disciples so that they could select a replacement for the traitor Judas occurred at another time; and I would add, probably at a different place as well, unless you believe they squeezed one hundred and twenty people into the upper room.
In fact, please notice that while it is the Eleven Apostles who enter the upper room, when Peter stands up, it does not say that he addressed the Apostles -- which is what one would think it would say if this event occurred in the upper room -- it says that Peter addressed the one hundred and twenty Disciples. Do you see the difference? Thus, I conclude that this event occurred at some other place, and at a different time as well.
Please go to part three for the continuation of this series.
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