Isaiah 1Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!For the Lord has spoken:“I reared children and brought them up,but they have rebelled against me.3 The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know,my people do not understand.”4 Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great,a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.10 Hear the word of the Lord,you rulers of Sodom;listen to the instruction of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!11 “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the Lord.“I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.12 When you come to appear before me,who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!Your incense is detestable to me.New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being.They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you;even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening.Your hands are full of blood!
Isaiah 59 15 Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.16 He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,and the helmet of salvation on his head;he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.18 According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due.
Isaiah 57 7You have made your bed on a high and lofty hill; there you went up to offer your sacrifices. 8Behind your doors and your doorposts you have put your pagan symbols Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed,you climbed into it and opened it wide; you made a pact with those whose beds you love, and you looked with lust on their naked bodies.9You went to Moleka with olive oil and increased your perfumes.12I will expose your righteousness and your works, and they will not benefit you.13When you cry out for help,let your collection of idols save you! The wind will carry all of them off, a mere breath will blow them away. But whoever takes refuge in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.”
Listen to me, you islands;hear this, you distant nations:Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.2 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me;he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.3 He said to me, “You are my servant,Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
4 But I said, “I have labored in vain;I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”
5 And now the Lord says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am[a] honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength—
6 he says:“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept.I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”7 This is what the Lord says— the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation,to the servant of rulers: “Kings will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down,because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.8 This is what the Lord says:“In the time of my favor I will answer you,and in the day of salvation I will help you;
I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances,9 to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ “They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill.10 They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.
11 I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up.
12 See, they will come from afar—some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan.[b]”13 Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me ,the Lord has forgotten me.”15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands your walls are ever before me.17 Your children hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you.18 Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you.
As surely as I live,” declares the Lord, “you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.19 “Though you were ruined and made desolate and your land laid waste,now you will be too small for your people, and those who devoured you will be far away.
20 The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, ‘This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in.’
21 Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up? I was left all alone, but these—where have they come from?’” 22 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I will beckon to the nations, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips. 23 Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers.
They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”24 Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives be rescued from the fierce[c]?25 But this is what the Lord says: “Yes, captives will be taken from warriors,and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you,and your children I will save. 26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
Isaiah 4520.“Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save.
21 Declare what is to be, present it— let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me,a righteous God and a Savior there is none but me
Isaiah 46 5 “With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared 6 Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it.7 They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer; it cannot save them from their troubles. 8 “Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. 9 Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are now far from my righteousness.13 I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.
Isaiah 1 16 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. ”For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
27 Zion will be delivered with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness.
28 But rebels and sinners will both be broken, and those who forsake the Lord will perish.
1 Peter 4:17
For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
ZION AND BABYLON
“Do you know what Zion is? Zion is a symbolic place in the spirit where Father God is the only thing there is. He alone takes preeminence.
Babylon meant something as well, that it stood in contrast to Zion.
Symbolically, Babylon is all that the carnal (fleshly) mind devises in the exaltation of Self–the preeminence of Self over God. It is a place in us where we think we are IT.
Zion represents the Spirit; Babylon represents the flesh. Zion also represents heaven(being committed to our Creator God and dwelling in His presence). Babylon represents hell being separated from God.
We exalt our imaginations and every high thing above the knowledge of God. 2 Cor. 10:5.
Both Zion and Babylon were historical places, yet the scriptures also speak of them as spiritual states of being.Hebrews12:22 speaks of Zion(Sion, in KJV)
In this figurative sense: “But we are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”1 Peter 2:6 reads, “Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he who believes on Him shall not be confounded.” This Zion is Jesus Christ.
Revelation14:8 is a good example of how Babylon has been used in this
figurative sense: “And there followed another angel, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.'”
Most notable is Revelation 17:5 which identifies the mother of harlots as Babylon:
“Upon her forehead was a name written, “MYSTERY,BABYLON THE
GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
Both Zion and Babylon mirror the condition of our hearts. Symbolic Babylon is that attitude of the heart that makes us think we can solve all of our problems and meet all of our needs without God.
We look to government, politics, science, technology, psychology, sociology,
economics, entertainment, and religion for our help—things mankind has invented. Therefore, we look to ourselves to save ourselves.
The body of Christ needs very much to discern between what is Spirit and what is Flesh. For that which is of the Flesh is enmity to the Spirit.
The word flesh is used in both the Old and the New Testament in reference to the natural, physical existence of all mankind such as we see it used in Matthew
24:22: “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”
The term flesh refers to the fallen nature of man, sin. When we live according to the flesh, we are living for Self. Conversely, when we are living for Self, we are living according to the flesh.
Self-centered living is making ourselves out to be god; therefore, it is idolatry.
Galatians 5: 9-25
9 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
These practices are not the deeds of the physical body, but of that fallen sin nature that resides in us. ”
Romans 8:7 attests that “the carnal mind is at enmity [hostile] against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”
The carnal mind has no ability whatsoever to understand the things of God which are Spirit.
Zion refers to the true body of Christ, Babylon refers to the false church system of men’s traditions and religions.
Zion is a people–the people of God; Babylon is a Thing–church institutions and systems.
Zion consists of people who have been born into it; Babylon consists of people who have joined it.
Zion is a people who are called by the name of Jesus; Babylon is a people who are called by many different names that represent divisions within this Babylonian church system: Baptist, Catholic, Charismatic, Seventh Day, Jehovah’s Witness, Church of God Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, and all the rest of man made religions.
Zion is Spirit-centered; Babylon is self-centered.
Zion is living by the Spirit; Babylon is living after the flesh.
Zion is heavenly; Babylon is earthly.
Zion is life; Babylon is death.
Zion is light; Babylon is darkness.
Zion is humility; Babylon is full of pride, arrogance, and haughtiness.
Zion is liberty in Christ; Babylon is bondage to the flesh.
Zion is the Kingdom of God; Babylon is the kingdoms of men under the influence of Satan.
Zion is a Spirit-led people; Babylon is led by rules and regulations of man’s own making.
Zion is Spirit-sensitive; Babylon is man-pleasing.
Zion is obedience to the Holy Spirit; Babylon is busy church work.
Zion accomplishes things in Holy Spirit power (Zech. 4:6); Babylon tries to accomplish things in self strength.
Zion has its authority in the Word of God; Babylon places its authority in man-made doctrines.
Zion worships in spirit and in truth; Babylon programs praise and entertainment – and psychology – feeling good about self.
Zion answers to God as the highest authority; Babylon answers to men and their institutions as the authority.
Zion is the city of God; Babylon seeks to build a city, a tower, and a name for itself. Gen. 11:4.
They have made church a substitute for God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spiirt. Many within these harlot church systems are true believers who love God, but are uninformed and deceived. They have unintentionally given their hearts to these things we call church. God loves us all but hates our idolatries.
The word “church” as it is used in English translations of the New Testament refers to the people of God, but we no longer limit its meaning to people.
This thing we call church (buildings, institutions, denominations,
and the people associated with them) is Christ’s assembly of called-out-ones. This Thing we call church looks good in its outward appearance, but is often inwardly controlled by men and women ambitiously, often unknowingly, seeking something for themselves.
The children of Israel in Judah and Samaria were spiritually blinded by their
own harlot hearts. They refused to hear the words of the prophets to return to the worship of their God. So, God scattered the people of Samaria to Assyria and later exiled Judah to Babylon.
The prophet Ezekiel had been carried away with the captives of Judah to Babylon. He had visions from God which he was told to tell the “stiff-faced” and “hard-hearted” elders of Judah whether they listened to him or not. God wanted them to know that a prophet had been in their midst. Ezek. 2-3.
Twenty-five years later, God took Ezekiel by way of a vision to the land of Israel and showed him a man whose appearance was like brass. This man had a line of flax and a measuring reed in his hand. He measured all around the Temple. He measured the width and the height of the wall, the gateways, chambers, and courts. Afterwards, he took Ezekiel to the gate that faced the east, and the glory of the God (Heavenly Mother- The Holy Spirit) of Israel came from the east. “His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory(light).” Ezek. 43:2. The Spirit lifted Ezekiel up and took him into the inner court as the glory of
the Lord (Heavenly Mother- The Holy Spirit) filled the Temple. Ezek. 43:5.
Then Ezekiel heard the Lord speaking to him from out of the house and told him that this house, the temple, was the place of His throne, the place of the soles of His feet, where He would dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. It would be the place where His holy name would dwell. Ezek.43:7. God told Ezekiel that the house of Israel would not defile His house any more by their whoredoms; neither they, nor their kings, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places. Ezek.43:6-9.
Then the Lord charged Ezekiel to show the condition of the house of the Lord to the house of Israel saying, “You son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, show them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the going out thereof, and the coming in thereof, and all the forms…ordinances…and laws thereof…this is the law of the house: upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy.” Ezek. 43:10-12.
Next, Ezekiel was shown a temple of stone. From the New Testament perspective we believe this temple of stone represents God’s spiritual house of lively stones–the body of Christ which is the temple of the Holy Spirit of whom we are. The condition of their hearts reflected the condition of God’s temple.
Conversely, the condition of God’s temple reflected the condition of their hearts.
Centuries later, the aging apostle John was given the revelation of Jesus in which he was asked to measure the temple again. He wrote, “There was given me a reed like a rod: and the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and those who worship therein.'” Rev.11:1.
Today, the Spirit of the Lord calls out for us to show the house to the house that we might be ashamed of all that we have done; that is, show how we have given our hearts to our denominations, institutions, buildings, stained-glass windows, memorialized pews, patron saints, rituals, liturgies, doctrines, rules of order, programs, the Sunday morning service–so many, many things. The Spirit of the Lord wants to show us how we seek after our own agendas though they contradict the agenda of God. He calls us to keep His pattern, not ours; His laws, not ours. For this is the law of the house that we should be holy (separated) unto the Lord. Ezek. 43:12.
If we were asked to measure a physical house structure, we would pull out our measuring tape and calculate numbers. We would check the width, length, and height. Those who are in the institutional church typically measure themselves by how many members they have, how big their buildings are, how many buildings they have, how tall their steeple is, how many cars can be parked in their lot, what kind of cars are parked in their lot, how much money they take in. They measure these Things because they give the greater honor to those pastors and ministries who have the biggest and most. This is a false house.
The true house of God is measured by love, kindness to one another faith, mercy, grace, peace, life, light, rest, joy, hope,forgiveness, acceptance, righteousness, praise, worship, turning the other cheek, submitting to each other, receiving the prophet in the name of the prophet, employing the gifts of the Spirit for the building up of the body, having a passion for Jesus, and being excited about the things that excite God. These are expressions that define our relationship with Christ as His body and with one another as the
household of God. We measure the temple of the Holy Spirit of whom we are by these Biblical terms. If that which we are in that we call church is characterized by such terms as dissension, backbiting, dead works, unbelief, legalism, manipulation, and fear, then it is a harlot’s house. We have a Thing—an idolatrous extension of Self that is not of God.
THE ETYMOLOGY OF THE WORD “CHURCH”
With the inclination toward the construction of buildings for the worship of God, it is little wonder that the translators of the King James Version of the Bible chose to translate the Greek word ekklesia by using the English word “church.” A deeper look at the etymology of the word “church” is quite revealing.
Moving backwards into time, the word “church” was derived from the Old English word cirice which is related to the Norwegian/Scandinavian word kirkja. These were derived from the Germanic word kirka; which was derived from the late Greek word Kyrite; which was derived from the Greek word kurios which means “ruler,” “lord,” “master.” In the Greek, Kuriake oika means “lord’s house.” Thus, the word church came to mean “a building set apart or consecrated for public worship.”1
Though the word “church” does not have its root in the Greek term ekklesia; it is used to translate ekklesia. Ekklesia is the formation of two Greek words: ek which means “out of” and kaleo which means “to call.” Combined, the word literally means “to call out of.” Ekklesia was commonly used among the Greeks in reference to a body of citizens who “gathered” to discuss the affairs of state.2 A correct and quite appropriate translation of ekklesia is “called-out-ones” although there are times when the context demands that “assembly” or “gathering-of-called-out-ones” be used. The word has to do with a people who are called-out to be gathered together.
Messenger to the Churches