History of Christianity & Future world events (intro)

It is my sincere prayer that the series of talks based on the subject “The History of Christianity and Future World Events” will provide a better understanding of how far the Christian church has come over the past 20 centuries and what will happen in the future.


In this regard the Bible sheds light on our pathway so that we are able to discern the times in which we live – 2 Thessalonians 2:3-5.


“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?”


The Genisis of the Church


When did the Christian church begin?


Our study will answer this pertinent question and give you deeper insight into the mystery of the Christian church kept as a secret throughout the Old Testament Scriptures and not mentioned by Jesus the Messiah in His earthly ministry.


Time is such a vital commodity relevant to our lives. We speak of past, present and future. It comes as a surprise to many when they discover that our God the Creator of heaven and earth is above time. God is eternal and is not governed by time as we know it. God’s eternal “past” and His eternal “future” are seen by His eternal “now” or His eternal “present”. The Bible’s reference to time is in relation to life on planet earth and God’s dealing with mankind throughout the ages. A thousand years in God’s sight is but yesterday – Psalm 90:4 “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.”


“A day with the Lord is as a 1000 years” – 2 Peter 3:8.


When God appointed Christ as mankind’s Redeemer He did so from the foundation of the world. You and I were chosen in Christ from the very “beginning” in the eternal past – Ephesians 1:4 “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”


Simply put, this means that Christ as the Divine vehicle for man’s salvation was established before creation or earth began. Those of us who identify with Christ as our Lord and Saviour became the elect or chosen ones through faith. It’s important to note that we are chosen in Him. “In Him” is the operative phrase.


When is a believer placed within Christ? On the day of accepting God’s gift of Grace, through faith. Instantaneously we are immersed into Christ .


1 Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit,”


and


Romans 6:1.4 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”


Christianity, therefore, existed in the “mind” of God in the eternal past constituted of all who would accept Christ as Saviour and who would make up the Body of Christ, as revealed in the New Testament - Ephesians 3:1-8.


The metaphor “Body of Christ” is a term only used in ⅔ of the New Testament. The term is absent from the Gospels, Acts and the General Epistles.


The English term “church” conjures up church as we understand it today, notwithstanding, the fact that the church is more than a building or organisational structure. The word “church” is an organism. It’s an organic or living spiritual entity. However, the Greek word “church” in the New Testament is “ekklesia” which means “called out.” Too often when folk read about the church in the Scriptures they assume it is in reference to Christianity. This is an unfortunate and a mistaken deduction that has resulted in mass confusion and is misleading.


The Hebrews were “called out” of Egypt and sojourned in the Wilderness. There were called the church – Acts 7:38 “This is he who was in the congregation (church) in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us.”


The term “ekklesia” sometimes refers to a crowd or a civil meeting – Acts 19:32 & 41


Interpretation of the following texts is crucial to the subject:


MATTHEW 16:18


Firstly, the “gates of hell” is an expression referring to death. The word “ekklesia” (church) is in reference to those assembled or “called out” of the nation, namely the disciples. Not even death will prevail or destroy their calling and purpose as apostles.


ACTS 2:47


At Pentecost three thousand (3000) souls were saved and added to the church = ekklesia = called out (National Israel).


Some believe that this marks the historical beginning of the Christian church, largely due to the Holy Spirit’s outpouring and the ushering in of the New Covenant (Note Hebrews 8:10). This church and the event of Pentecost was exclusively Jewish. We refer to this national entity as the MESSIANIC Church.


Christians were first called by the term in Antioch, a Gentile city – Acts 11:26. This is significant because the Christian church (ekklesia), unlike the Messianic or Jewish church, consisted of a non-ethnic class of Jews and Gentiles.


The body of Christ


The Body of Christ phrase is uniquely Pauline and he is often seen as the ambassador and founder of Christianity having received the revelation of the Mystery of the Church (ekklesia)


Ephesians 1:22-23 “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Also see Ephesians 3:1.9.


Romans 16:25-26 “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith”


The Christian church was never fully Jewish but consisted of Jews and Gentiles.


The Messianic church led by the 12 apostles expected the return of Christ and the ushering in of the Kingdom. The Kingdom programme was postponed after the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:59-60).


The first century Christian church was in flux with many heresies and apostasies. The rise of the Gnostics, the Judaisers and conflict between church leaders - refer 1 Corinthians 1:11-13. With the Promised Kingdom in abeyance the genesis of the Christian church emerged.


In the first century there were no Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Salvationists, Congregationalists, Baptists, Lutherans, Pentecostals and Charismatics. There were only Christians.


The church consisted of all who were in Christ.

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