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FLIGHT FROM BABYLON

 

The Coming Salvation From The Works Of Collective Society

 

  


SUBVERSION OF THE NEW COVENANT PEOPLE

 

     At this point our review of history takes an unhappy downturn. For though the Gospel of the Kingdom carried within it the seed of LIFE necessary to enable its believers to fulfil the way of Abraham and enter into all dimensions of salvation from dead works, that LIFE had to be activated by confession and action to be made effective.1  Without it, the seed could be lost from the heart, not taking root, and be yielded up.2  As well, the Gospel itself was capable of being counterfeited. Like the original message of Abraham and the prophesies of the coming messiah, the Gospel too could be redefined in terms of the very works from which it was designed to save men. Men could be led to believe they were living by faith when they were living by dead works. They could be persuaded into serving the kingdom of Nimrod in the name of the kingdom of God.

 

     Like Old Israel therefore, God's New Israel began to yield to the insidious infiltration of the spirit of babylonianism. The Gospel of the Kingdom underwent gradual, subtle changes to accommodate babylonian society - ultimately to become a completely prostituted, counterfeit message of salvation. One by one, the three phases of salvation by grace were subverted and lost until, like Old Israel, the Church-at-large became completely melded in with world society. (We say the "Church-at-large" because, despite the corruption of the overall body, God has preserved to Himself those individuals and very small groups in every century since the commissioning who have obtained and maintained testimony to complete salvation in opposition to the spiritual harlotry festering around them.)3

 

Salvation from the Works of the World - LOST

 

     The first dimension of salvation to be ceded by the Church to the world is the dimension for which we are contending in this article: salvation from the dead works of fixed human economy and social community. The early Church gave up Her mobility, losing Her outward distinctiveness as a moving society of faith among man's immobile population centres. The Church "settled down" and began to adapt to babylonian economy and community rooted in the cities.

 

     The first hint of this subversion is suggested to us in the New Testament where we read of the persecution which broke out after the death of Stephen. The persecution  scattered the Church.4  The unspoken implication behind the story is that the Church was massing together in Jerusalem. In so doing, She was already giving up ground to the spirit of babylonianism behind that harlot city. Because the Church was failing to disperse, She was judged and forced to disperse by persecution. The instrument of persecution was the people She was beginning to become like - babylonian Jews. (This fulfiled several patterns we have already considered.)

 

     Eventually, despite this early warning sign from God, and despite the faithful few who retained their mobility to carry the kingdom Gospel to a number of distant lands, the Church-at-large rooted in to adopt the Roman fixed economy and social community. True to form, the Church also began building permanent places of worship using the tell-tale elements of brick and mortar. The Roman Empire became dotted with such high places as Israel had been. This manifestation came to the place where the entire meaning for "church" became transferred from the People of God to the buildings in which they worshipped.

 

     The absorption of the Church into Roman society became so complete that the Church Herself came to be identified by the babylonian adjective "Roman". What was originally the Church at Rome became the "Roman Church" and applied to everyone in the empire. As the other dimensions of the Gospel were gradually lost, complete union between the Church and the Roman government was eventually established.

 

     To service this reversion, and in keeping with the pattern we earlier saw, the Church redefined the kingdom of God as the Roman empire under the Church's direction. Thus was born the first brand of false kingdom teaching relative to the Church and the Gospel. The only difference now between the counterfeit kingdom message held by Old Israel and that advanced by the Roman Church was that Israel looked for a Jewish babylonian kingdom without reference to Jesus Christ while the Roman Church proclaimed a gentile babylonian kingdom in the name of Jesus Christ. The essential similarity of the spirit behind these false gospels was confirmed as the Roman Church set about to persecute the remaining faithful as the Jews had persecuted the prophets.

 

Salvation from the Works of the Flesh - LOST

 

     Once the outermost dimension of salvation was given up, it was only a matter of time before the inward two dimensions would be lost. After ceding to the works of the world, the Church ceded to the works of the flesh. The message of holiness through the crucifying power of the Holy Spirit became transformed to teach holiness through the obeying of religious forms, laws, traditions, and ascetic practices that counterfeited the work of the Spirit in the believer's life.5 As well, the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit given until the Church reached perfection (ie, complete salvation)6  were quenched out of the Church. Instead, it was taught that they had "ceased" and "died out".7  This meant now that the Church had not only lost Her distinctiveness through mobility, but Her distinctiveness as a force for moral righteousness within the societies She had come to inhabit. The believers lost their ability to deal with the power of sin in the flesh, yielding to the same temptations and moral weaknesses of the societies now choking them.8

 

     This reminds us of an earlier type and example when Lot chose to abandon the mobile life he shared with Abraham in order to settle in the babylonian centre established at Sodom.9 As a result of this move, he also sacrificed what moral distinctiveness he may have had prior to this. His presence in the city brought no offense to the people there. He was willing for his daughters to be raped, and he was given to drunkenness. His wife was in love with the city, and his daughters were not beyond inducing him to incest with them. Although we know he had not lost the basic seed of righteousness,10 we read that he just barely escaped the destruction of Sodom "by the skin of his teeth",11 and that only because Abraham the faithful had interceded for him to God.

Salvation from the Works of the devil - LOST

 

     Finally, the most basic dimension of salvation from the true Kingdom Gospel was lost. Commonly and simply known as "The Gospel", this is the message of salvation through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.12 The loss of this root message of the Gospel ushered the Church into that period of history appropriately called the "Dark Ages".

 

      By forfeiting the seed spiritual truth of the salvation message, the Church disfranchised Herself from the rightful name of the Church of Jesus Christ. The body had now gone beyond losing its distinctiveness to losing its identity. The truth of salvation by grace was now totally usurped by a counterfeit message of salvation by works through "the Church".

 

      What was called "the Church" was now nothing more than the religious arm of babylonian society. It incorporated into itself all other forms of pagan religion and sponsored them in the name of Jesus Christ. Rightfully called "Religious Babylon", this body which had been founded to stand against the brick-and-mortar of babylonian society now  served as that mortar itself and came to be recognized by it. It became the bond for holding secular Roman society together. Needless to say, this institution, like Old Israel before it, was and is a fierce opponent and persecutor of those faithfully scattered people since who retained their identity, preserved the basic message of faith, and kept their commitment to the total way of salvation from all dead works.

        

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[7. GRADUAL RESTORATION OF THE KINGDOM GOSPEL ]

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References:

1 Jms 2:14-15 > Heb 4:2  

2 Mt 13:3-7,19-22        

3 Rom 11:1-5      

4 Ac 8:1-4  

5 Gal 4:9-10  Col 2:18,16-23 > Is 1:10-17; 57:6; 66:3-4,17-18  Jer 6:20; 7:21-22; 14:11-12  Hos 2:16; 8:11-13  Am 5:21-23  Zep 1:4-6  Hag 2:14  Mal 1:6-14; 2:10-17   

6 Eph 4:7-13  I Cor 13:8-10 > Php 3:12-14 

7 (II Pt 3:4) 

8 Mt 13:22     

9 Gen 13:10-13; 19:1-38

1O II Pt 2:7 

11 (Ju 22) 

12 Ac 2:38 Ro 3:21-26


[7. GRADUAL RESTORATION OF THE KINGDOM GOSPEL ]

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