According to Harvard Institute, there are roughly 350,000 religious congregations in the United States. Of those, about 314,000 are Protestant and other Christian churches, and 24,000 are Catholic and Orthodox churches. Non-Christian religious groups are estimated at 12,000 members. Looking at these numbers and how we as a Body of Messiah have evolved, I wondered what it would look like if the Apostles came to a weekly service at one of our assemblies. This allegory is not meant to offend any group, but it is intended for us to look at this with new eyesight.
What would happen if Paul (Sha’ûl in Hebrew) showed up in our town today and wanted to go to one of our gatherings or ‘churches.’ I decided to do a little skit involving any ole Christian and the apostle Paul.
Paul: “So where do they hold the meetings?”
Believer: “Let me see, “Well, Paul, are you Catholic or what denominational type do you prefer?”
Paul: “Catholic or Denominational?”
Believer: “Yes, what doctrine do you believe is best?”
Paul: “You mean God’s Word?”
Believer: “No, no, no, (Shakes head) Paul, what type of Christian are you? Are you more laid back and quiet or are you more the Pentecostal type?”
Paul: “Christian? “Pentecostal? You mean the day of Pentecost right? Shavuot, the day when we celebrate the harvest, and when the Holy Spirit fell in cloven tongues of fire?”
Believer: “I guess so?” (Shrugs shoulders).
Paul: “You mean the day I wrote about in the book of Acts right?”
Believer: “Um, I guess so? Well, let’s see, maybe we should approach this subject matter differently. Do you want to see a live skit? They put on an excellent show at New Builders light of Grace church!”
Paul: “A show?”
Believer: “Oh, I know what you may like is a sermon done in Latin! Father Donatella does have quite the service.”
Paul: Why in Latin?
Believer: “Christians in Rome adopted Latin in the fourth century. And it became the Church’s language in the fourth century.
With Scripture in Latin, the Church adopted the Roman tongue for its mass everywhere, but it’s dying out now and mostly in English.
Paul: What is Mass?
Believer: It means to be sent out as a disciple.
Paul: I see.
Believer: “Oh Paul, Pastor John Peach Tree Thomas, is mighty anointed! Why once he made every hair on my arm stand straight up when he preached. On second thought, never mind, the board voted him out.”
Believer: “Yes Paul we have boards. We have to maintain order. There is no way this whole church thing could operate without having all the people in place.”
Paul: “Yes, perhaps. I was an overseer myself, checking on the assemblies in many locations.
Do you think they would let me speak this morning? I have a message I wanted to bring. I believe it is a word for the time at hand and one of urgent need concerning idolatry.”
Believer: “Well, Paul they would have to go over that with the priest or pastors and have a meeting about it. They’d need to see if your style of preaching is a good fit for their congregation. Then you could read their statement of faith; you know “what they believe” and see if it goes along with what you believe.”
Paul: “Don’t they all agree on the Torah and Yeshua the Messiah?”
Believer: I’m not exactly sure. With so many different types of doctrines, it gets confusing.
Paul: “This reminds me of when I wrote a letter to the congregation in Asia. Diotrephes loved being number one; he gave himself the title of bishop and magnified himself. It is sad really because Messiah Yeshua is the head of the Body. I wrote about it in 3rd John. Have you read the book?”
(3 John 1:9 GWT) “I wrote a letter to the congregation. But Diotrephes, who loves to be in charge, won’t accept us.”
Even Yeshua said, “whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” (Matt. 20:26-28 KJB)
Believer: “Yes, ahem (clears throat) Paul, you have brought up some excellent points. Nonetheless, you see, we have been copying a certain formula for so long now, geez, probably almost two thousand years, and at this point, a change in the formula would be quite difficult to adjust to. However, I am quite sure I can find you a perfect church to go to if you just give me a chance! I know some dynamic speakers.”
Believer: Paul, what style of worship music do you prefer? Do you like old hymns or more upbeat styles? I know, I bet you would go for the Christian rock music? It’s really popular.” (Makes air guitar sounds and acts like he’s strumming)
Paul: (shakes his head) “Rock? You mean HaShem right? He is the rock of our salvation.”
Believer: “Yes Paul He is. Walk with me Paul and you’ll see right here on the corner is a Lutheran church you could attend.”
Believer: “Yes named after Martin Luther.” There are many churches named after men, and all have different beliefs.
Paul: “Wait, you name churches after men? But we are the church. The Body of Messiah!
(Acts 17:24 NIV) “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.”
Believer: “Look, Paul, across the street, is a Methodist church and then just a mile south is a Baptist church. Then two miles north is a Southern Baptist church.”
Paul: “Why so many in such proximity? Are they all full of believers and cannot hold more?”
Believer: “Oh no, the Lutheran church only has fifteen members, and the Methodist has about thirty in their congregation.”
Paul: (Looking grieved) “Why don’t they meet in the same place then? And what do you mean by members? We are all members of one Body; I wrote about that in Ephesians.”
(Ephesians 4:4-6 NASB) “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
Believer: “Paul, with so many different beliefs systems it just works better this way. They can’t seem to agree and are divided on certain topics, like baptism.”
Paul: “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.”(Matt. 12:25 NASB)
Our Father is raising up Joshua’s. Revival is when our words and deeds are in accord with Him and His Commandments. It requires humility, repentance, personal introspection and love that is contagious. This type of revival doesn’t need an evangelist, a prophet, or a sign out front that says, “Revival this week.”
Light in Goshen is going to break forth. It will not be a revival of signs and wonders, shaking, laughter, and so forth, but it will be one of repentance. I see assemblies all across this land weeping over the condition of our nation and The Church who’s thrown away His Torah.
Somewhere underground in a foreign land, many are living in fear over their belief in Yeshua. Not only do they have to hide their religion, but also the small number of bibles they have access to. When they meet, they don’t have special lighting except for His Light. They own no sound system; just their voices lifted in praise. Their clothing is but humble apparel.
And so we wait for That Day when the pure Bride of Yeshua comes together in unity. Judah and Ephraim as One stick in our Father’s Hand. A Glorified Body, where He is First, and Last, and evermore and no man will get His Glory.
Genocide is happening in other countries. Christians are being slaughtered as I type this, and I am sure that in the face of ISIS or other terroristic groups, none of us would be worried about our titles, our denominations, or appearances, but join together as one with a bond that is incomprehensible.
Again, this is not an attempt to butcher pastors or priest or teachers; this is not an attempt to be right or religious. This chapter is a plea for His Bride to come together in power! Please read the closing for more details on Doctrines of Demons Part #3.
Photography by Ândrēw Yīsrâ’Ęl