All Flesh has Failed
Jun 20, 2007
It was built into the divine plan that all flesh would fail, in order to prove that only God can succeed. The measure of man's success is according to how much of the Holy Spirit operates in his life.
Notice I said success, not "prosperity." God defines success differently from man's ideas. Failure is the knot hole through which God drags us into success, in order to teach us the inability of the flesh to please God.
The Prosperity doctrine, as usually conceived, is the fleshly version of God's program of success. It appeals to the flesh and seeks to make Christianity profitable to the flesh. Whenever men are able to use Christianity to make a profitable business arrangement, there is great danger of losing the heart of God.
In the early centuries of the Church, when it was unprofitable and dangerous to be a Christian, only those with a heart for God would even consider it. The Church remained relatively pure, because persecution kept out the Prosperity seekers. But in the fourth century, when Christians became government favorites, and being a Bishop became a source of profit and power, fleshly men rose to the top and corrupted it beyond repair.
This, too, was part of the divine plan, for the Church under Pentecost had to fulfill the pattern laid down by King Saul in the Old Testament. The leavened nature of Pentecost (Lev. 23:17) had to be fulfilled. Not only the fleshly world, but also the fleshly Church had to come to understand that leaven requires fire to stop its tendency to be "puffed up" by the pride of self-righteousness.
But someone will object by quoting Matt. 16:18, "upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it."
It seems that all Roman Catholics learn this verse first, and they are told that it means the Roman Church will ultimately prevail in the earth and never be overthrown. They and many others believe that their membership in an organization makes them part of "the true Church." But the verse says nothing about a "Roman" Church or a "Roman" hierarchy. It is God's Church, not any man's Church. The Roman view mistakenly thinks that the organization is the Church, when in fact, the Church is the PEOPLE.
The Hebrew word for "church" is kahal, and it is usually translated "congregation" or "assembly" in the Old Testament. For example, Psalm 22:22, which the NASB translates, "In the midst of the assembly [kahal] I will praise thee." This verse is quoted in Heb. 2:12, where it reads, "In the midst of the congregation [ekklesia] I will sing Thy praise."
This shows that the Greek word ekklesia is the equivalent of the Hebrew word kahal. This is what is called the "Church." It is not a building or an organization, but PEOPLE.
So when Jesus said, "I will build My Church," He was not speaking of organizations, including the Roman Catholic organization. He was speaking of PEOPLE. Organizations come and go, but God will always have a PEOPLE in which to dwell.
In fact, if I may go off on a tangent, consider the hidden revelation of this Hebrew word kahal. It is formed by three Hebrew letters: kaph, hey, and lamed. The kaph and lamed form the Hebrew wordkohl, which means "complete, everything, ALL." For example, Isaiah 45:23 and 25 says,
" (23) I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness, and will not turn back, that to me every [kohl] knee will bow, every [kohl] tongue will swear allegiance . . . (25) In the Lord all [kohl] the offspring of Israel will be justified and will glory."
The hey in the middle of a Hebrew word indicates inspiration or revelation, such as when God put the letter hey in the middle of Abram to change his name to AbraHam. It signified putting the Holy Spirit into Abram so that he could bring forth Isaac, the promised son.
So also with this word kahal. It is the Holy Spirit inserted into kohl, "THE ALL," whether we view this "all" in terms of the congregation of "all Israel" or in a greater sense of the whole world. I also find it significant that the Hebrew word kohl has a numeric value of 50, the number of Jubilee. (The kaf is the Hebrew number 20 and the lamed is 30.) When you add the hey in the middle of it to make the word kahal, "Church," its numeric value is 55, the biblical number for MERCY. Thus, Paul says in Rom. 11:32,
"For God has shut up ALL in disobedience that He might show MERCY to ALL."
The concept of "mercy to all" describes the word kahal perfectly.
So getting back to the point at hand, the Church has to do with "all the people." Organizations are temporary forms. I conclude, then, that Matt. 16:18 cannot be used to prove that any Christianorganization will last forever. That belief is an illusion that finds its Old Testament parallel in the monarchy of King Saul. He, too, thought that his throne would last forever--based upon his legitimate anointing at the hand of Samuel. But he misunderstood, because he did not know God very well.
Organizations are mere forms. Forms change, but God changes not. The day will come when all denominational organizations will give way to something greater which God intended to establish from the beginning. In that day, all the people will see clearly the failure of fleshly organizations, and their faith then will be placed in Christ, rather than in their favorite organizations.
God intended the lesser anointings of Passover and Pentecost to fail to bring righteousness into the earth, in order to show us that only the fullness of the Spirit (feast of Tabernacles) is sufficient for the task. Thus, the Old Covenant, which was instituted toward the beginning of the Passover Age, was doomed to failure.
Pentecost is an interesting case, because the New Covenant was unveiled to them, and yet they received only an earnest of the Spirit. It has turned out to be a transitional feast that is leavened. Thus, some (the overcomers) are able to move on with a vision of Tabernacles and the Promised Land--but the majority, like the Israelites under Moses, have reverted back to Old Covenant theology and practice.
This has taken various forms. Paul wrote against the Judaizers in his letters, proving that some portion of the early Church could not break away from the Old Covenant patterns and practices (including animal sacrifices). God largely resolved this problem when He brought in the Romans to destroy Jerusalem and the old temple.
But then the Church set up a priesthood that was patterned after the Old Covenant levitical system. Finally, in the past century, Christian Judaism has once again emerged as Christians came to expect another physical temple to be rebuilt in old Jerusalem. We just can't seem to settle this problem. It is little wonder that the prophets foresee a day when that city will be destroyed with such completeness that it will never be rebuilt (or repaired) again (Jer. 19:11).
It seems that this is the only way to correct men's tendency to put their faith in flesh. If we did not know the sovereignty of God and the divine plan, I would lament the tragedy that Dispensationalism and Christian Zionism has made it necessary for God to destroy Jerusalem. But I know He has blinded their eyes in order to obligate Himself to set all men free (Ex. 21:26). It will all work out for good ultimately.
Dr. Stephen Jones