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  1. How important is the TRUTH to you?  FALSE AND MISLEADING information has been around since  the Garden of Eden  when a wicked spirit decieved Eve by his smooth, cunning and deceptive trap. What has transpired since, has been a fight for the right of supremacy of the universe.

    Jehovah, the God of creation, has laid out for us not only the history and motivation of the battle, but the finale, his triumph over the usurper.

    Satan, the wicked spirit creature who has disrupted the peaceful purpose of creation, has inspired no such timeline for success of his wicked plot.

    There is, however, a prophecy that is meaningful for those who are truly interested in the original purpose and outcome of Jehovah God.

    The Christian Greek Scriptures lay out the ensuing millennia - from the first century until the end of demonic interference eternally.  The penmen, of the Greek Scriptures, were quite accurate in their foretelling that following the apostolic era, that the early church would suffer an institutional apostasy, which would last until the “last days”, during which time a restoration of the original model, would unfold.

    The best text related to this issue was the data provided by Jesus himself, at Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-43, which starts off as follows:

    "Jesus told them another parable: "The Kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner's servants came to him and said, "Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?" "An enemy did this", he replied. The servants asked him, "Do you want us to go and pull them up?" "No", he answered, "because while you are pulling the weeds, you root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned, then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn." (NIV)


    Not wanting to allow for a variety of future interpretations of the above parable, Jesus himself, explained it in 13:36-43 as follows: "Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field". He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world [kosmos], and the good seed stands for the sons of the Kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his Kingdom everything that causes sin, and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear."


    Jesus explains that while he was on earth he, the “Son of Man”, spread a specific message, "the seed of wheat", that resulted eventually in the formation of a body of original followers and/or co-workers, "the wheat". However, when his co-workers, the faithful apostles and their principal associates died, or "went to sleep" [death is compared to a type of sleep in over 700 places in the Hebrew and Christian Greek Scriptures], an enemy, the Devil, over-sowed the body of believers with others, "the weeds", who were not of the same ilk as the original community once was – resulting in a contamination, a negative infusion that proved to compromise that which was established by Jesus and his first followers.


    As noted in the parable, it is only during "the end of the age", the time of the end, the last days, in which one would see a harvesting that would bring together once again the wheat, but now separate from the weeds – indeed, the call made at Revelation 18:4, for his people, to get out.


    Interestingly, the koine Greek word translated as "weeds" is "zizanion" which is a kind of darnel, the bearded type, which significantly resembles wheat in “appearance”, but only in appearance [Matthew 7:15-23] – a degenerate wheat.


    Also interesting regarding zizanion, it is not until the time approaching harvest, that the zizanion becomes visible – and it does so because unlike wheat, it puts forth little black seeds at maturity, which become visible, and if eaten, can be deadly. It is the fruit, or "seeds" of this plant, which make it distinguishable from the true wheat.


    The reason why Jesus chose this particular plant by word becomes obvious - the zizanion represented individuals "planted" by oversower into the developing Christian institution. Who would claim to be genuine Christians, genuine "wheat". According to the little parable, this poisoned and contaminated version of “Christianity” would be allowed to persist until the time of the end at which time a separating would transpire, i.e., the restoration.


    The author of 2 Peter states that just as Israel was infected with religious apostasy, so should the Christian Church expect the same – “However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among you. These very ones will quietly bring in destructive sects and will disown even the owner that bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves. Furthermore, many will follow their acts of loose conduct, and on account of these the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively. Also, with covetousness they will exploit you with counterfeit words. But as for them, the judgment from of old is not moving slowly, and the destruction of them is not slumbering." (2 Peter 2:1-3) (NW)


    He not only predicted the institutional apostasy but mentioned its impact on people at large - "on account of these the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively".


    Many individuals observing the less than commendable record of the Christian institutions would fail to distinguish genuine Christianity from apostate Christianity, and would, as expected, speak quite disparagingly of it. This interim form of Christianity would leave a "bad taste in the mouths" of many, not the least of which, being Jesus.


    In Paul’s last meeting with the elders at Ephesus likewise warned of the coming apostasy and added that it would involve elders themselves, some of the very leaders of the communities, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and days with tears." (Acts 20:29-31) (NIV)


    In his second letter to the Thessalonians he specifically put down speculations about the imminence of Christ's second coming and reminded them that the complete institutional apostasy must occur first, before Jesus’ return, “But relative to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and our gathering together to meet Him, we beg you, brethren, not to allow your minds to be quickly unsettled or disturbed or kept excited or alarmed, whether it be by some [pretended] revelation of [the] Spirit or by word or by letter [alleged to be] from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has [already] arrived and is here. Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first - that is, unless the [predicted] great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come - and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition)." (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3) (AB)


    Non-Christian theology into institutionalized Christianity.


    From later period doctrines of three gods in one in the third through fourth centuries CE, to doctrines of everlasting punishment established in the fourth century CE, to acceptance of other Pagan based beliefs, such as an immortal soul of man, celibacy, infant baptism, pagan symbols, traditions, holidays, observances, et al.


    History itself, and the lack of evidence of such in the biblical texts themselves, confirm the entrance of these, and the modification and twisting of so many other teachings of Jesus himself, and the beliefs of the original Hebrew peoples.


    The author of John, recorded the closing of the Christian era and the emergence of this apostate Christianity – the infiltration of the weeds, "Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; and they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. I write to you not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it; and know that no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus if the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also." (RSV).


    What better denial of the existence of the son, than to claim there was no son at all, but merely God himself, incarnate, today called not the “Son of God”, but tellingly backwards, as “God the Son”.


    Interestingly, according the bible texts themselves, during this period, Cerinthus, Simon Magus, Basilides and others introduced corrupted views about Jesus and God and their relationship to each other – the apostasy was formally begun – its fruits to be seen in the next few thousand years, and especially clear in our own day.


    A few telling observations: "Membership in the church was not sectional, but universal. Christians were not classed variously according to special views of doctrine or church polity. There was nothing in the early church comparable to modern denominational divisions... This resulted in doctrinal harmony in the church. There were, it is true, certain troublemakers who disturbed the church, but they were the exception and in due time, they were rebuked. There was unity of effort among Christians, for all were members of but one church." Christian Theology, Vol. II, "The Apostasy of the Church", p. 168, by Albert F. Gray, D.D.


    "Religiously, Christianity suffered because it was exclusivistic, not tolerant like other faiths of the (Roman] Empire. In fact, it was aggressive in trying to win adherents from other faiths." Highlights of Church History, p. 25, by Howard F. Vos.


    "As a result, however, of its growing importance, the Christian community began to draw upon itself the dislike not only of Jews but also of Pagans. It was naturally difficult for them to understand the exclusiveness of a monotheistic religion... The mutual relations of married couples were often embittered when one of the partners was converted. People whose trade suffered by the spread of the new religion had a serious grudge against it. Social life was made very difficult when one's neighbour could not conform with the most ordinary convention on the ground that it implied the recognition of pagan deities." A History of the Early Church - to A.D. 500, by William Brisbane, p. 16.


    "The office of the elder or presbyter ranked highest in the local congregation... The New Testament.., is quite clear in its association of these two names (elder and presbyter) with the same office. (Acts 20:17, 28; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5,7) The growth of the office of the monarchal bishop did not come until after the end of the apostolic age in the second century... The early Christians did not think of a church as a place of worship according to the common usage of the word today. A church signified a body of people in personal relationship with Christ. Such a group met in homes (Acts 12:12; Romans 16:5, 23; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1-4), the temple (Acts 5:12), public auditoriums of schools (Acts 19:9), and in the synagogues so long as they were permitted to do so (Acts -14:1,3; 17:1; 18:4). The place was not as important as the matter of meeting for fellowship with one another and for worship of God... The Christians, who had great appeal for "the lower classes and slaves, were hated by the influential aristocratic leaders of society... The Christians upheld the equality of all men... Christians separated themselves from pagan gatherings at temples, theaters, and places of recreation. This nonconformity to accepted social patterns, brought down upon them the dislike that the nonconformist always faces in any period of history." Christianity Through The Centuries, by Earle E. Cairns, p. 88, 89, 97.


    "A careful review of all the information available goes to show that, until the time of Marcus Aurelius [Roman emperor from 161 to 180 C.E.], no Christian became a soldier; and no soldier, after becoming a Christian, remained in military service." The Rise of Christianity, E. W. Barnes, p. 333.


    "They refused to take any active part in the civil administration or the military defense of the empire.., it was impossible that the Christians, without renouncing a more sacred duty, could assume the character of soldiers, of magistrate, or of princes." History of Christianity, Edward Gibbon, pp. 162, 163 [San should appreciate that one].


    The Church had changed its nature, had entered its Great Apostasy, had become a political organization in the Spirit and pattern of Imperial Rome, and took its nose-dive into the millennium of Papal Abominations.., worship, at first very simple, was developed into elaborate, stately, imposing ceremonies having all the outward splendor that had belonged to the Pagan temples.


    Jesus makes it clear - when the "harvest" and the restoration would occur:

    "...and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age..." (RSV)

    "...and the enemy that sowed it is the devil; and the harvest is the final time..." (BLE)

    "The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age..." (RBV)

    The harvesting and separating takes place during "the close of the age", "the final time" - Jesus indicates that the restored Christian community would be present. This then defines the "close of the age" at Matthew 13:39. The "close of the age" is the "time of the end".

    And the separating?

    "And this good news of the Kingdom (the Gospel) will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then will come the end." (AB) – this is what would separate – first in his own kingdom, then in the whole kosmos.


    According to the biblical texts, the following would be indicators of the restored Christian community and congregations - It would be organized during the "time of the end", it would be "hated by all nations", it would be active all over the world, all baptized members would be expected to disciple others, it would be closely associated with God's very name, it would have an international profile of showing love within the community, it would not be subdivided for the time of its entire existence, into denominations, and its doctrines and practices would be like those of the first Christians.

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