Who Is The Church?
Let me preface this with one verse that seals my heart and one point. 2 Timothy 1:12 KJV “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
One point – Prior to 1900, for the most part, there was not great confusion or contentions about the word of God. Sure there was some and there were different ” denominations “. Everyone pretty much used the Geneva Bible and then in 1611, the King James Bible if you were English speaking.
But starting around 1900, “newer versions” started popping up. And then came the “plain English” versions. Now we have everyone making their version of God’s word. The problem with that is when man starts messing with God’s word, two major things happen.
1 ~ They loose the inspiration of the scriptures, the God breathed life of the scriptures and then that Bible becomes just like any other man made book.
2 ~ Confusion comes from all the different interpretations because words are changed or altered to update terminology. That then alters the meaning God laid out in scripture.
Solution? If you want to understand something in scripture, use the King James not the New King James, but the King James Bible. Then look at your translation to see how the original meaning was changed in the “newer” version.
That said, no one knows everything about the word of God, no one. We pray and ask God to teach us. Proverbs 2:6 KJV “For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Out of God’s mouth ( his word ) comes knowledge and understanding. So let me lay some ground work.
We are told to “rightly divide” God’s word, 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
So now we know there are divisions of God’s word. And God tells us to make the divisions correctly ( rightly divide ). So how do we rightly divide the word of truth? God helps us. First God divided the Old Testament from the New Testament. In the New Testament, God divided the time Jesus was physically here on earth, ( the 4 gospels ) with the time after the resurrection of Jesus. God also shows us a division when the Holy Spirit comes and lives inside believers and never leaves the believer. Unlike in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would come and go.
But what about other areas? Well if you do not rightly divide the word of truth you do not have correct information. Example – running water. People use to wash their hands in a basin of water and later found out with everyone washing their hands in a basin that was keeping germs and disease in the water basin and whoever they touched or operated on ended up with the disease. God told Israel about this back in Leviticus 15:11-13. But it was years and years later that plumbing with running water came around.
So when we are trying to understand something from scripture, we have to ask who is this scripture addessed to. Scripture has a literal and spiritual application for every verse. Sometimes, scripture clearly explains itself like when Judas hung himself after throwing down the silver coins in Matthew 27:1-9 scripture tells us this was fulfilling a prophecy from “Jeremy” Jeremiah the prophet. And other times, like Daniel, we ask God to help us understand what his word is telling us.
Which brings me to my main point. Matthew 24. People are being confused with Matthew 24. God is not the author of confusion so this confusion is not coming from God. I had someone the other day call me and ask me if the “church” ( born again believers ) was going to go through the Great Tribulation mentioned in scripture. They said they use to think no, but now they were not so sure. I was amazed because they had for about 15 years or so never had an issue with that doctrine. Now, all of a sudden, they were listening to some “preacher” who put doubt in their mind. Again, God is not the author of confusion.
I am not saying God can’t teach us things we do not know. To the contrary. For years fundamental churches did not teach about the Holy Spirit. How when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live inside all believers. So logically speaking, is the Holy Spirit God? Yes. Would God bring his wrath upon himself? Don’t think so. The Great Tribulation is the pouring out of God’s wrath. Why would people think God would pour out his wrath on himself, who is indwelling all believers?
And Matthew 24 is a chapter with a lot of “meat” as we might say. People read things into scripture that is not there. Then they teach others their interpretation as “doctrine”. And hence, a heresy is born.
Let me give you one major key to understanding the New Testament. Keep this key in mind when you read and study scripture. Who is the church?
You have to identify who the church is so when you read verses about the church you know who God is talking to. The church is made up of New Testament Jews and Gentiles who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ unto salvation. These believers are one in Christ and have the Holy Spirit living inside them, guiding, teaching and working through them. Paul explains this in the book of Romans.
So back to Matthew 24. Here is a homework assignment. Using a King James Bible, can you find the word “church” in Matthew chapter 24?
And we will pick it up from here next time.