For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Who Started It

For a few years now, I have been reading the Bible, researching, and seeking "authentic" church. Contrary to what people have suggested, it isn't that I don't want to submit to an organized authority. It because I want to be as close to God's original plan of worship and relationship as possible because I want to be as close to HIM as possible. I don't care about being a good denominational member. I want to be a good worshiper of God.

A few things have really caused me to ask what authentic "church" is.

First, I see nothing in the Bible that resembles any denomination that exists at this point (although, I think where we attend now is pretty close). I don't see see the prayer, announcements, songs, and sermon methodology explained at all in the Bible, and I certainly don't see bigger and better buildings being the goal of any of the disciples or apostles. The New Testament "church" gathered in houses. They ate together. Did life together. They developed relationships. Granted, as we see in 1 Corinthians 14 and other places, those relationships weren't perfect, but they were not as disconnected as church tends to be today where we show up, sing some, listen to someone talk, and get home in time for a football game or Sunday nap. So, what did they originally look like?

I've talked about this before, and I have asked what it means when we are told not to stop meeting together as some are in the habit of doing (Hebrews 10;25). King James says not to forsake assembling together. The organized church says this means we should not stop attending organized church meetings. However, the word "church" never actually appears in the Bible. The word for "church" in the Bible is the word that simply means "assembling". It means to gather. There is nothing about the word that says the gathering has to be in a building with a preacher following a denominational methodology. And interestingly enough, the same word (which I can't get to work in this format) is one used in the Old Testament that talks about Israel, not a new church.

If you just look at the New Testament, there is nothing that suggests a form of worship like we have now existed then or was created then. That brings me to the next point.

Some people say  the "church" was created at Pentecost, but that isn't true either.

The disciples, who transitioned into apostles, continued meeting just like they had with Jesus. They "assembled", ate together, encouraged each other, held each other accountable. Even with the Council in Jerusalem that decided how to handle the influx of Gentiles, they had not created a new church or new format of worship. They were still using the same form of gathering.

Plus, according to Isaiah 42:9, which says, "See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you," God prophecies new things before they take place. No where in the Bible is there a prophetic word about a new "church". The prophecies in the Bible deal with the restoration of Israel, not the creation of a religious replacement for Israel until Israel gets its act together. If there was going to be a whole new religious order, surely God would mention that. I mean, it is a really big deal, especially when the Old Testament prophets speak repeatedly about the restoration of Israel, not to in restoring them as the chosen people of God because they have always been the chosen people, but to a personal relationship with God.

Also, Pentecost isn't something new. It is a Jewish feast, Shavout. It is falls 50 days after Passover and is known as a harvest festival. It is the time when the law was given. In Jeremiah, the Lord says He will make a new covenant with Israel, and at that time, the law will be written on their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10). How will that happen? According to Joel 2:28, He will pour His Spirit on men, women, young, and old. This isn't a new group of charismatics. This is Israel. Pentecost did not establish a new "church". It fulfilled prophecies to Israel.

"But I thought Israel blew it, so God created the church to do what Israel failed to do."

In Isaiah 42:1-9, it is prophesied that a servant will come and be the Messiah. Clearly that is Christ, but then the Lord starts to use the pronoun "you." Understand, He has been talking to Israel, so it only makes sense that He is still talking to Israel when He says,
"“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles

to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness."

But the Jews rejected Christ, right? They are the ones who are wandering lost, right?

No. This prophecy was actually fulfilled. The disciples were Jews. Paul was a Jew. The writers of the New Testament were Jews. In fact, WE are the Gentiles grafted in as Paul says (Romans 11:17-24). How did we get grafted in? Because God restored Israel. 

The word "restored" means to return to the point of deviation. In other words, God's plan was to take Israel back to the original plan, which was relationship with Him, which was accomplished in Christ. The Jews were restored when they put their faith in Him. Do they all believe in Him? No, but that does not dismiss the ones who did. It is through those Jews, through the Israelites who were restored through faith in Christ and thus salvation through His sacrifice that we received the Light. The "church" didn't replace them. On the contrary, the Gentiles assembled with them. They became one with the Jewish believers. 

The "church" wasn't created at Pentecost. Pentecost is when the prophecy to Israel was fulfilled, and the Jewish believers stepped forward to be the light to the Gentiles. 

The "church" was not created by God because Israel failed. On the contrary, we are grafted into Israel because God's prophecies were fulfilled and didn't fail. And the idea that "the church" is bringing Israel to Christ is bogus. They brought Christ to us.

What does all that mean in practical terms? I don't know yet, but I plan to keep asking questions and find out.

Shalom, y'all.

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