Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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April 22, 2013
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April 22, 2013
Jesus Represented God's House And Temple On Earth, House Of Our Body, Jesus Became The Physical Embodiment Of The Mercy Seat And The Throne Of Grace, Scripture Interprets Scripture, By Preaching In The Temple Jesus And Apostles Made The Jewish Religious Elders Accountable For The Truth, Eyewitnesses To The Truth, Requirement Of The Mosaic Law Regarding Multiple Witnesses, Though One Rose From The Dead, Jewish Elders Try To Conceal Jesus' Resurrection, Murderers Of Prophets Jesus And The Apostles, Kill The Messengers To Stop The Message, God Salvaged People From Corrupt Judaism For His New Church, Apostles And New Church Were Viewed As A Serious Threat By Scribes And Pharisees, Roman Catholic Church Losing Ground To Pentecostals And Evangelicals, Judaism And Temple Worship Were A Spiritual Blight, First Century Church In Their Homes Tyndale Used "Congregation" Instead Of "Church", Organized Religion's Subtle Indoctrination Of People By Using Specific Words Which Nurture Dependence On Churches, "Congregation" Is Better Translation Of "Ekklesia", Some Specific Examples
With the overwhelming amount of Scriptural evidence which I have now shared with you, it should be a lot easier for you to understand in what spirit Jesus probably used the phrase "my Father's house" when He cast out the merchants and the moneychangers. As I said, He probably meant "what you claim is my Father's house." Jesus knew full well that the Temple was not His Father's house. He knew full well who now abode in that place. It was the children of hell and their father the Devil. He knew that His Father's true House is in Heaven. Furthermore, He knew that if His Father's Holy Spirit abode anywhere on the Earth, it was not in the Temple in Jerusalem, it was in His own body of flesh, as we have already seen. As we learned earlier, the Apostle John wrote "he spake of the temple of his body." Jesus was the House of God and the Temple of God on Earth.
Let me remind you again regarding how even the Apostle Paul referred to our body of flesh as a "house" and "tabernacle" that contains God's Spirit, in the following verses where he discusses how we all long "to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven"; that is, with our glorified body:
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life."
2 Corinthians 5:1-4, KJV
Not only did Jesus literally become the House of God and the Temple of God on Earth, because His Father's Spirit abode in Him in all its fulness, but consider this next point as well. Earlier, I stated that the Mercy Seat represented the Throne of Grace of our Heavenly Father on Earth. This too was also represented in Jesus Christ; for as it is written:
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth . . . For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
John 1:14, 17, KJV
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV
In a word, Jesus actually represents God's Grace and Mercy to humanity. To come to Jesus in faith, is to pass through the veil, and to come to the Mercy Seat as well.
Thus, once again we see that Scripture interprets Scripture, without the need for any of us to try to force our private interpretation on them. It is because so many people today twist and pervert God's Word, and try to make it say what they want it to say, that the Christian world has become so full of many false doctrines and misinterpretations. If we would just diligently study God's Word, and let it speak for itself, it will most certainly do that.
To reiterate my previous point, God's true House is located in Heaven. It was not the Temple in the city of Jerusalem. So, if the Temple was doomed to destruction, why would Jesus preach the Word, and perform miracles, in a place which had clearly been taken over by the children of the Devil? Why would Jesus literally march into Satan's own territory, and throw the truth right in the faces of His enemies, by even performing miracles before their very eyes? Furthermore, why would the Apostles preach there, and likewise perform some miracles there as well? I can think of several good reasons.
The amazing truth is that not only did Jesus prove to them exactly who He was and is -- even though they did not want to believe Him at the time -- but He also witnessed to the unbelieving Jewish religious leaders of those things which were yet to come; most notably His Resurrection from the Dead. In contrast, the Apostles served as a confirmation to those same reprobate Jews, that the things which Jesus had told them only days earlier, had indeed come to pass. In short, it was all about the witness. It was about making the Jewish religious leaders fully accountable for the truth. Consider the following verses where this is made so plain:
"Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 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 2:18-22, KJV
"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin."
John 15:22, KJV
"Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."
Acts 2:22-36, KJV
"Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them."
Acts 5:26-33, KJV
So as you can see from the previous verses, Jesus basically told them "This is what is going to happen"; and the Apostles said "This is what has now happened. We are eyewitnesses to these events. We have seen, touched and spoken to the risen Christ." These multiple eyewitness accounts by the Apostles and Disciples were very important due to the requirements of the Mosaic Law. As the following verses reveal, this is also why several witnesses had to be called at Jesus' own trial, as well as why several witnesses were likewise present when Stephen was martyred:
"Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die."
Numbers 35:30, KJV
"At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you."
Deuteronomy 17:6-7, KJV
"One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established."
Deuteronomy 19:15, KJV
"This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."
2 Corinthians 13:1, KJV
"Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear."
1 Timothy 5:19-20, KJV
"He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:"
Hebrews 10:28, KJV
Thus, the fact that so many people bore witness to the truth regarding the resurrected Christ, stood up to the test of the Mosaic Law, and served as an undeniable testimony before the blind Jewish religious leaders. Tragically, Jesus knew that no matter what proof the Jewish elders were given, they would never accept the truth; for as He had previously predicted in His Parable regarding Abraham, the rich man and Lazarus:
"Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
Luke 16:29-31, KJV
As I mention in other articles, rather than face the truth regarding Christ's Resurrection from the Dead, those wicked children of hell in fact tried to conceal the event from the general public, by bribing the guards who had been assigned to watch Jesus' tomb, as we see by the following verses:
"Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."
Matthew 28:11-15, KJV
Clearly, Jesus knew exactly what abode in the dark hearts of His enemies. Thus, He also knew how the situation would play out. Please notice that in the previous verses that we find in the Book of Acts, we are informed that after Peter and the rest of the Apostles were such a bold witness regarding the Resurrection of Christ, the Jewish religious leaders "took counsel to slay them." You see, that had actually been their modus operandi for literally hundreds of years whenever they were faced with an uncomfortable truth which they didn't want to hear. They attacked and killed the Prophets which God had sent to them in His great Mercy; they attacked and killed the very Son of God; and they attacked and killed the Apostles and Disciples as well. Consider these additional verses:
"Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
Matthew 23:33-38, KJV
"Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take jesus by subtilty, and kill him. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people."
Matthew 26:3-5, KJV
"Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people."
Luke 22:1,2, KJV
"And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."
John 5:16-18, KJV
"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the jews sought to kill him . . . Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? . . . Then said some of them of Jerusalem, is not this he, whom they seek to kill?"
John 7:1, 19-20, 25, KJV
"I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:37-44, KJV
It is rather obvious that because they could not refute the truth of the message itself which was borne by the Prophets, by Jesus, and by His followers, those self-righteous snakes adopted the practice of what in their view was the next best thing: kill the messenger in order to stop the flow of the message. However, as we have already seen, once we hear the truth, God holds us accountable for it; and the Scribes and the Pharisees -- as well as the Sadducees and other Jews who rejected Christ -- were clearly accountable.
Aside from the reasons which I have already mentioned, if we look at what happened as a result of the Apostles preaching in the Temple, we can detect another reason why God may have had them temporarily witness in that place for a time, until it became impossible for them to do so due to persecution by their own Jewish brethren. In the verses which I shared with you in part three, we are told that "the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." In other words, that false religious system was already doomed to destruction. However, it seems that before that day would arrive in 70 AD, God was purposely salvaging those people who could be saved from it, drawing them out of that corrupt system, and adding them to His new true Church, which was founded, not upon the doctrines and traditions of men, but upon the one true Rock of Jesus Christ.
There is no doubt that the Scribes and the Pharisees greatly feared losing their hold on the people, just as the modern, false church system also fears losing its members as well. I suspect that the fear which was experienced by the Scribes and the Pharisees was augmented by the fact that we are told that even many of the members of the Temple priesthood were embracing the young, new Christian faith. Obviously, this must not have sat well with the high priest and his wicked cronies. Consider this verse:
"And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."
Acts 6:7, KJV
To help you to better understand what was happening at that time, allow me to offer you a more specific modern example. For years now, the Roman Catholic Church -- which everyone obviously knows is the dominant denomination in our current time -- has seriously been losing ground. Not only is there a major shortage of priests in that church, but a lot of the laity -- the regular members of the church -- are leaving it as well. However, this does not mean that they are all just losing their faith in God and Jesus Christ. No; quite to the contrary, other flavors of the Christian church -- such as Pentecostals and Evangelicals -- are making serious inroads in areas of the world which were once dominated by the Roman Catholic Church, such as Latin America. The Vatican is of course very concerned about this development. Perhaps that is one reason why they recently elected the very first pope from Latin America; that is, Pope Francis I.
In a sense, this is exactly what was also happening during the First Century following the outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles and Disciples. They were on-fire for the Lord, and they were winning new Disciples left and right. That is why the dominant religion of the time -- Judaism -- determined that it simply had to stop this new movement in its tracks. Thus, the Scribes and the Pharisees first opted to kill its ringleader -- meaning Jesus -- and after that they also went after the other leadership of the Church as well, beginning with Stephen, and then James. Now do you understand what was going on?
Allow me offer one final reason regarding why God may have chosen to destroy the Temple in 70 AD. In a word, Judaism and Temple worship had become a dangerous spiritual blight. God obviously did not want His new Church to be infected by it. Thus, while it may not be the main reason why the Temple was destroyed, I propose that the events of 70 AD served as a safeguard, so that the First Century Christians would not get sidetracked in buildings, which, as we saw earlier, is exactly what occurred with the early Roman Catholic Church, beginning with the Fourth Century reign of Constantine, and no doubt with strong encouragement from his mother, Helena.
For those religionists who erroneously insist that the fact that the Apostles and Disciples gathered in the Temple for a time is proof that God approves of church buildings, let me ask you a simple question. If the Temple in Jerusalem was truly the house of God, and supposedly a model for modern-day Christianity, then why did God choose to destroy His "house" not once, but twice? Furthermore, if your claim is true, then why has God prevented the Jews from rebuilding His "house" in almost two thousand years? Is it possibly because the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands? Is it possible that Stephen actually died for the truth, while you insist on living a lie?
In the verses which I shared with you in part three, we were specifically informed that the Apostles went "house to house" breaking bread, and that daily -- not just on the Sabbath -- they taught and preached Jesus Christ "in every house" also. This does not sound like a once-a-week, weekend affair to me. This was daily, intimate Christian fellowship, and it was not occurring in the Temple. If the Apostles really considered the Temple to be their base of operations, it makes no sense that they would teach, preach and break bread in every home on a daily basis. All of such activities would have strictly been done in the Temple, just as occurs in modern churches.
It becomes evident then, that the reason why they were doing these three things in the homes of the Disciples, is because that is where the churches and the fellowships were located. The Temple compound was not their real church. They were the Church, and they gathered in their very own homes, in small intimate fellowships. As I explain in such articles as "Where Are the First Century Churches?", this solid truth is made so evident in verses such as the following. How did Saul make havoc of the church? By "entering into every house", because that is where the churches were located:
"As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison."
Acts 8:3, KJV
"Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ."
Romans 16:5, KJV
"The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house."
1 Corinthians 16:19, KJV
"Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house."
Colossians 4:15, KJV
"And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:"
Philemon 1:2, KJV
"And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,"
Acts 20:20, KJV
While we have just taken quite a detour from our discussion regarding the King James Version of the Bible, and the facts concerning its translation into our English language, as you will now see, all of these various points are necessary and in fact related. This is because the Scriptural information which I have just shared with you will help you to recognize the huge contrast which exists between what the Scriptures actually reveal to us regarding the true Church and Temple of God, and what modern organized religion -- which I refer to as "churchianity" -- claims to be the truth concerning the same.
According to my "Online Bible" program, the word "church" is found exactly eighty times in the New Testament of the King James Version of the Bible, while "churches" is found a total of thirty-seven times. In contrast, when Tyndale translated the New Testament into English, the words which he used were "congregation" and "congregations". Only in two places does he use the word "church", and it is actually in reference to pagan temples. Certain religionists will no doubt argue that "congregation" and "church" are the same thing. However, what they don't realize, is that by even saying that, they are in fact proving my point; which is that we've all been affected -- or more correctly stated, indoctrinated -- to believe and think a certain way by organized religion.
In other words, we have been brought up in such a way, that when we hear the word "congregation", we automatically assume that one is talking about a church building. Our minds have been trained to automatically associate "congregation" with "church", because that is what religionists want us to think. However, the fact of the matter is that a congregation can be a group of people who congregate anywhere, at any time, and for any reason. It can be in someone's house, at some sports events, on a street corner, at a music concert, at a political rally, or anywhere else. A congregation is not necessarily a group of Christians who gather in a church building. That is simply organized religion's hold on your life that makes you think that way, because they want to keep you dependent on the ecclesiastical power structure and church buildings.
Furthermore, the word "congregation" is a much better English equivalent of the Greek word "ekklesia", which, as we learned in part one, is simply a called out assembly of people. They are the "called out ones" who have been called out by God and separated from the evil world. William Tyndale was a brilliant scholar who was very fluent in a variety of languages. He knew what "ekklesia" actually means, and that it has nothing to do with a building. That is why he apparently chose to use the word "congregation" instead of the word "church". Let me give you a few examples by showing the same verse as it is printed in the KJV Bible, and as it appears in the translation which was done earlier by Tyndale:
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Matthew 16:18, KJV
"And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter. And upon this rock I will build my congregation: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Matthew 16:18, Tyndale
"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
Acts 2:46-47, KJV
"And they continued daily with one accord in the temple, and brake bread in every house, and ate their meat together with gladness, and singleness of heart praising God, and had favour with all the people, and the lord added to the congregation daily them that should be saved."
Acts 2:46-47, Tyndale
"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body."
Ephesians 5:22-23, KJV
"Women submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the lord. For the husband is the wife's head, even as Christ is the head of the congregation, and the same is the saviour of the body."
Ephesians 5:22-23, Tyndale
"John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;"
Revelation 1:4, KJV
"Ihon to the vij. congregations in Asia. Grace be with you and peace, from him which is and which was, and which is to come: and from the vij. spirits which are present before his throne,"
Revelation 1:4, Tyndale
As I noted earlier, if you have been raised in a Christian environment, particularly in a church-going environment, it may be difficult for you to fully grasp the significance of this difference. It may even seem small to you, and not that worthy of discussion. However, as I said, its effect is that it points people to organized religion, and to its system of church buildings. Putting this thought into sharper context, about four hundred years ago, it manipulated the minds of the common people of England, and made the statement that all good Christians attend a church building, which at that time meant submitting to the authority of the Church of England.
Please go to part seven for the continuation of this series.
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