Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Are These Churches The Remnant ? What Does The Bible Say About It ?

Throughout biblical history God has always established a remnant, a small remainder of highly devoted worshippers of the one true God. He has used this remnant to rebuild after numerous abominations and desolations; abominations from His worshippers - desolations from whatever tool God deemed to use.

From Noah and family, Lot and Abraham; continuing through Isaac, Jacob (Israel) and through Joseph in Egypt; to Moses, through all the patriarchs and prophets of old until the advent of the Messiah, when the “end times” started; a remnant has always been preserved.

Through the 1,260 years of the dark ages a remnant preserved the true worship in the mountains and far away places while the majority accepted false teachings.

The very end of the “end times” will have a remnant as well but will be different in the sense that this last remnant will be saved from a false-worshipping church and then the world will be destroyed. (1 Thess. 4:16-18, 5:1-8; 2 Peter 3:10) After the millennium the New Heaven and New Earth will be the culmination of all the struggle and the true worshippers throughout earth’s history will live with God on earth. (Rev. Ch. 21)

Arguably, we are near the end now, and it so happens that several churches have laid claim to being this end time remnant. Although I’ll mention a handful of these the real purpose of this blog entry is to define biblically what the remnant is.

[Note: I fully expect all readers to look up the bible verses for themselves. Do not believe me – believe the Word instead.]

As always folks, please remember, I’m referring to institutions here, not individuals; and also remember, this is a blog, therefore opinions abound! Read 2 Timothy, Chapters 3 & 4 – it tells us how not to be and how we should be regarding these admonitions.

So … I’ll briefly mention a few organizations that lay claim on being the remnant church, though many more exist:

- The Roman Catholic Church

- The Mormon Church

- The Jehovah’s Witnesses

- The Seventh Day Adventist Church

I could expend years of energy writing about each church but it’s not my purpose. The Roman church, from my viewpoint is obviously described in the biblical text as the Beast church, false and deceptive, full of idolatry, vain ritual and blasphemous teaching. Yet, it contains individuals who are part of the remnant.

The Mormon and Jehovah’s Witnesses churches both have their own unique teachings and I’ll just leave it to say I don’t believe they are the remnant either. However, as I begin to list the biblical description of the remnant you’ll see bits of the remnant in each of these churches! And yes, I believe that both these churches have individuals who are part of the remnant.

I have saved the SDA for last on purpose. It has been said that we discipline those we love the most. The SDA church comes very close to the biblical teaching of the remnant but I believe it’s not the remnant. I say this because of it’s efforts to become loved and accepted by the “beastly” political entities of the world and it’s anti-biblical teaching of vegetarianism (1 Tim 4), among other things. Just one visit to Adventist.org with a glance at the parent organization’s official statements and one can almost smell the desire to be “one with the world”!

To be fair, the SDA church does not teach vegetarianism in it’s “official doctrine”, they teach it as a health benefit, but just bring a meatloaf to a covered-dish luncheon and you’ll understand what I’m saying. As a regular attendee of an SDA church I can say without hesitation that vegetarianism is taught. Timothy actually refers to this teaching as a “doctrine of demons”.

SDA officials and the churches parent organizations are involved with the U.N., Prop. 8 in California, and the banning of so-called assault rifles (civilian approved, semi-auto deer rifles essentially).

Can any of us picture Noah, in cooperation with his peers, issuing a world peace proclamation? Can we envisage the Apostles and Paul working with Caesar to ban spears, javelins, and swords? Did they work with Rome in feeding the poor and needy?

No … we can’t even begin to think these things, yet this is exactly what modern church organizations do. SDA is no different. It is my opinion that the SDA church does these things to glorify itself in man’s eyes. This is in direct conflict with the 5 Solas taught in Reformation doctrine.

As you may know, I have a great deal of respect for this church because most of their teaching is biblically accordant! However, I have to refer to them as RINO, “remnant in name only” because they try so hard to be part of the world. This does not reduce my love for the individuals in this church. Most of them are unaware of their organization’s connection with these “worldly” entities. In fact, a frequent quote I hear from my SDA friends is; “SDA was better when it was a movement – it was a mistake to organize”.

Is A Congregation Necessarily Part Of Man’s Church ?

All churches contain a mixture of wheat and chaff, true believers and hypocrites mingled. Individual believers from all these various churches can be described as the “body of Christ”; His one true church! (read John Chapter 10 and Ephesians Chapter 4) In the book of John, Jesus does not preclude a man-made church from being His true church, but He proclaims that He, Jesus, calls His sheep into one fold because His sheep hear Him (the sheep do not hear man). With many members of the remnant in many different churches and denominations, in these last days, it becomes clear that Jesus calls His followers from many different flocks. For a man-made organization to lay claim to be that ONE FLOCK it must meet ALL of the biblical criteria.

In Ephesians Ch. 4 Jesus speaks very directly of One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism and of the use of man’s church to edify the saints for the edifying of the Body of Christ. That we all may be “joined together in unity” into One Body.

So, there is a definite coming together of unity and doctrine which can be referred to as the true, remnant church. However, look at verse 14 of Ephesians Ch. 4! If a church organization and the men in it speak and behave contrary to the Word, then we are to be forewarned. It is my opinion that the SDA church speaks contrarily, as mentioned above.

The SDA church also has individuals who are part of the remnant.

It is clear to me from John and Ephesians that Jesus’ one true church is motivated and created by FAITH – not by doctrines of men!

Is it unguided to chastise churches? With love, no; with malice, yes. For if a part of the body offends, then cast it off. (Matt. Chapters 5 & 6) In the book of Matthew, Jesus is not just speaking of individuals here, casting off those things that cause them to sin, but also churches casting off those things that cause them to sin.

A true believer is one that has developed into a new person by the influence of the Holy Spirit! It has nothing to do with applying yourself to the teachings of a man-made church and it’s rules!

Naturally, men wish to have a church, seen by others as representing specific teachings that present their core beliefs. In my thinking, they actually devolve into an organization that emphasizes man’s rules. Therefore, they establish their own laws. Man’s rules within church organizations actually reflect a lack of faith, a lack of faith in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. In other words, most churches don’t believe that God will write His Law on men’s hearts, so they try to force it with obedience to man’s rules!

True Christian belief in God is NEVER FORCED, whether that be by violence, government, or man-made rules.

So! What else does the bible say concerning it’s true church? I fully expect you to open up your bibles and look these up for yourself. Don’t ever trust me, trust the Word!

Matthew 16:13-18 – Jesus states the He will build His church beginning with Peter (on this rock). It does not state that man will build the church.

[Note: It is an obvious thing that men run churches and that Peter and company ran the early church. They did so under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That fact is not necessarily true in some churches today.]

Acts 2:41,47 – Those who believed in Christ were baptized and added to the church BY THE LORD. And what was the criteria for someone to be baptized?

Acts Ch.8 – Chapter 8 is a wonderful summation of what is required for your acceptance into the Lord’s church. You repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus with all your heart, and you are old enough to know what this means, you may be baptized into the Lord’s church.

Ephesians Ch. 5 – another wonderful chapter describing Jesus’ church. And more importantly, a declaration of WHO is the HEAD of THE CHURCH. It is the Lord – not man.

Revelation Ch. 12 – part of the great prophecy concerning God’s church.

Revelation Ch. 12:17 – Jesus declares that His church will keep the Commandments of God (all 10) and have the Testimony of Jesus.

Revelation Ch. 19:10 – An angel of the Lord states what the Testimony of Jesus is. It is the “spirit of prophecy”. The word spirit is translated as pneuma, or breath. That is; His church will speak with a prophetic voice and testify concerning prophecy.

[Note: It becomes clearer why the SDA church and the Mormon church believe they are “The Remnant” because they both have a modern-day prophet; Ellen G. White for the SDA’s and the President of the Mormon church for the Mormons. Jehovah’s Witnesses lay claim to the 144,000 “Elijahs” mentioned in Rev. Ch. 7. BTW, It is up to you to decide if you think most Christian churches have the “spirit of prophecy” or not. Some man-made churches teach prophecy and some don’t.]

Exodus Ch. 20 – the angel of the Lord says in Rev. Ch. 12 that the church will keep the Commandments of God (all 10).

[Note: Many, many man-made Christian churches keep the Sabbath and some don’t. (over 500 keep it, at last count) The bible declares that all true Christians will eventually come together as one flock as described. So, you may allow me to interject my opinion here. I believe the remnant church is coming together at this time. It may eventually be just one persecuted denomination or it may be the body of Christ spread out amongst all denominations and non-denominations. Either way, it will reflect what’s in the bible and won’t be clamoring after the world’s affections! Also, you must look at a complete study concerning the Sabbath and the “mark of the Beast” before you say all Sunday worshippers are not part of the remnant. I happen to believe that true Christian Sunday keepers, who don’t yet know better, are part of the remnant.]

In closing, it is up to you to decide who and where is the remnant church. You have been shown some of the criteria – the most important criteria, I believe. Is it a product of man’s work? I think not. Especially when one can see so much error in man’s organization. Jesus does say that His church will come together as a remnant but it will be by the criteria of the bible, not man's. And, it will not be in the name of ecumenism! It will be on the basis of wanting to do God's will, not ours!

The Observer

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