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The Failure of the Church

Jun 19, 2007

We showed last time how the age prior to the cross was an age of failure. First Israel failed, and God removed His glory from Shiloh/Ephraim and gave it to Jerusalem/Judah. Then two centuries later Judah failed in the same manner as Shiloh had failed, and God removed His glory from Jerusalem, ultimately placing it upon the remnant of believers who experienced Pentecost in Acts 2.

The euphoria of those early days was soon replaced by a more realistic view of Pentecost, and the Apostle Paul's writings reflect this. He writes to the Corinthians to correct their abuses of Pentecost, and his realization that Pentecost was a leavened feast brings him to affirm three times that Pentecost had given them only an earnest of the Spirit. For this reason, the Church under Pentecost would fail in the same manner as Israel and Judah had failed in the previous Passover Age.

Since King Saul was a primary type of Pentecost, it was inevitable that Pentecost would be insufficient to do what was required to bring forth the fruits of the Kingdom that God required--which is the manifestation of the Sons of God. King Saul started out in disobedience, which is as "witchcraft," and he ended his life consulting the witch of En-dor. Unfortunately, this too, characterizes much of the Church under Pentecost.

One may argue the finer points of this, but the bottom line is the same--Saul was replaced by David, the overcomer. Saul's dynasty ended, and David was given the promise of an enduring dynasty. We read this in 2 Samuel 7:8-16. David himself summarizes it in Psalm 89:3, 4, saying,

" (3) I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, (4) I will establish your seed forever, and build up your throne to all generations."

When Judah failed and God removed His glory from that place, the people could not understand how God's promise to David would fail. They had placed their confidence in that temple and the fact that God had graced it with His presence at the time of its dedication. He had put His shingle on its lintel, declaring "This is My house and My street address." So the people did not believe Jeremiah's declaration that God would forsake it "as Shiloh" (Jer. 7:14).

But God has ways of fulfilling His Word that men do not understand. Just because He has a "chosen" people does not mean that He will allow them to be in rebellion without consequence. Just because He chooses a place to dwell does not mean that He refuses to judge or destroy that house. Men do not understand God very well, nor do they understand how He can fulfill His word in alternative ways when they refuse to follow Him.

The confidence of Eli's sons at Shiloh was matched by the confidence of the priests in Jerusalem. But the Word of the Lord is the same to both, as expressed in Jer. 7:4,

"Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, 'This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord'."

God had a hidden plan from the beginning. While it is true that He called Jerusalem to house His glory, He also made the name plural, in order to give Himself a way to fulfill the promise in an alternate way. The people thought He would have to remain in the old physical city, but God had a New Jerusalem in mind, and already had planned to move to that new location. Jews do not like this, of course, and Christian Zionists are blind to this as well. But our blindness will not change the plan, for it is not based upon our understanding of it. In fact, as Paul says, the remnant are characterized by God opening their eyes, while "the rest were blinded" (Rom. 11:7). The blindness of the majority is built into the plan.

What has NOT been so clear in the Pentecostal Age is the fact that Pentecost itself would fail as well. Even as the Church in the wilderness (during the Passover Age) was destined to fail, so also was the Church in the Pentecostal Age. King Saul was never meant to succeed or to have an enduring dynasty. The glory of God can be manifested only by the outpouring of the FULLNESS of the Spirit through the feast of Tabernacles. Nothing less will succeed. The Kingdom cannot be established by a lesser measure of the Spirit helping the flesh.

If the Church is the modern manifestation of King Saul, what makes anyone think that it can succeed where Judah and Israel failed? King Saul remained under the illusion of his enduring dynasty right to the end. He never recognized that David would take over, and in fact he fought it for as long as David was a threat to his throne. But Saul died, and David became king, regardless of Saul's fleshly attempts to keep the throne.

Even so today the Church persecutes the overcomers who come with a message to go beyond Passover and Pentecost. They do not want any one-upmanship. Passover churches don't want anyone getting past them into Pentecost. Pentecostal churches don't want anyone getting past them into Tabernacles. Neither can recognize a greater anointing without disrupting their own limited vision. So, like the lawyers of old, they did not want to enter in themselves and have hindered others from entering (Luke 11:52).

Yet in all of this, the divine plan is that God would create opposition in order to train the overcomers. Thus, even as Saul trained David through persecution, so also has God raised up Church denominational leadership to train the overcomers today. To be an overcomer, one must overcome something, so God gives them something to overcome. After all, He is the one who blinds people, as He said to Moses in Exodus 4:11,

"And the Lord said to him, Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?"

Everyone fits perfectly into the plan, but pray that you will be counted worthy to be one of the remnant whose eyes are not blinded to the truth. When God opens a man's eyes to the truth, He then tests his heart by the hand of the opposition. In the test, men either hide in fear or boldly proclaim the Word of the Lord.

In fact, this is the primary characteristic of the overcomers with the Word of Tabernacles. We see this in the story of Jonah, whose name means "dove." Jonah is a type of Christ. His two callings to preach to Nineveh represent the two works of Christ. The first is a death work, which he accomplished in the belly of the whale. The second is when he actually went to Nineveh and preached boldly.

This is typified again in the book of Acts in the two outpourings of the Spirit. The first was on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. The second was in Acts 4:31,

"And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness."

This second outpouring of the Spirit is prophetic of the one yet coming at the Feast of Tabernacles. But the overcoming remnant is already manifesting this. When they come out of the closet, they usually find persecution and opposition and must endure the loss of property and friends. It is not easy. The easy path is the one most traveled. But through the difficulty and heart ache, God reveals Himself in new and special ways, and they shed tears of joy.

So let us press on to the high calling of God, that we may attain to the resurrection out from among the dead (Phil. 3:11, literal). No amount of opposition and earthly loss is worth more than knowing Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.

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Category: Teachings

Dr. Stephen Jones

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