Rightly Dividing the Word: The Deception of Worldliness
Filed Under Christianity, End times, Latter rain, Moral virtue
Photo: Christmas at Crystal Cathedral
In the last posting, I said we would examine in this one the deception of worldliness. This we will do, but first let us consider other compelling testimony that, indeed, the books of the New Testament are laid out in the pattern of the church. While the church is
First Remnant —> Christianity —> Second Remnant,
the books of the New Testament follow that pattern in that they represent these three distinct works in the following order:
Gospels thru Acts 8 —> Acts 9 thru Paul’s writings —> Hebrews thru Rev.
For us today, this holds special meaning in that Hebrews through Revelation would particularly, though not exclusively, speak to us, the second Remnant.
We already noted in second Remnant Hebrews 10:37 the amazing truth of this. There we read: “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay.” This is a most fitting statement for a second Remnant book, for it is we, the second Remnant, who will see the coming of Immanuel without delay. Most certainly, this did not apply to the first Remnant or to Christianity, for clearly He has delayed His coming for two thousand years, which is not a “very little while.”
Adding further confirming like testimony, in second Remnant 1 Peter 4:7 we read: “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.” Again, this was written nearly two thousand years ago, and either the Bible is evidencing misleading inaccuracy; or, it attests to the promised breach, evidenced by the letters of Paul, and is relevant specifically to us today. Clearly, the latter is true.
In further enlightening and relevant like truth, in second Remnant Revelation 10:6-7 we find yet a third testimony to this same message:
“there will be delay no longer, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound [the seventh trumpet], then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.”
As addressed in The Great Tribulation, page 9, the trumpets speak specifically to the second Remnant (while the seals speak to the first Remnant, and the bowls to Christianity). It is at the sounding of this seventh trumpet that we find the fulfillment that the second Remnant will bring—Immanuel’s coming. In the next chapter, we read the much needed and relevant outcome with the sounding of that trumpet:
Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign into the ages of the ages” [Revelation 11:15].
And what is it that precedes this event? It is the proclamation in 10:6 that “there will be delay no longer” and “the mystery of God is finished.” As we continue reading in chapter 10, following this proclamation a little book is then given to John, he eats it, it is sweet to his mouth and bitter to his stomach, and then there is a prophecy that is likewise to be fulfilled in this day: “You must prophesy again before/over many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.” John never fulfilled this, but it will be fulfilled during the consummating second Remnant.
And might we say here, appropriately, it is the second Remnant who truly understand the book of Revelation, while others do not. They look at it in the natural, not realizing its message as a great parable. Thereby, they conclude something which is completely false and will never take place. Read The Great Tribulation, page 9, at to understand the truth regarding this second Remnant book.
In addition to these three like testimonies just considered, it is encouraging that in all the New Testament, only in the latter second Remnant portion is the latter rain, as well as the former rain, mentioned. And not only are these two outpourings pointed out, but they are also identified specifically in regard to Elijah. In second Remnant James 5:7 and 17-18 we read:
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains .
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit [17-18].
Again, it is quite hopeful that all of these related passages are found exclusively in second Remnant Hebrews through Revelation.
This now leads us to the main subject of this posting: the deceitfulness of worldliness. As we have seen evidenced thus far here, once again, now regarding worldliness, we see that the messages within these three divisions of the New Testament are indeed specific to the first Remnant, Christianity, and the second Remnant. And in particular, once again we see testified the specific timing of the second Remnant relative to the Millennial reign. It is also quite noteworthy that the exhortations of the Scriptures regarding worldliness and the necessity to turn from it are concentrated in this second Remnant portion. Let us examine these subject passages. To begin with, in 1 Peter 1:14-16 we read:
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Though the word “world” is not used here, the “former lusts” look to this, especially in contrast with the calling, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Next, in James 1:27 we find the qualification as to what is pure and undefiled religion, here specifically addressing the world:
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James continues this message with the very sobering warning:
You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God [James 4:4].
John then adds a MOST powerful and relevant warning to the second Remnant, who will rule and reign with Yahshua in the Millennial age:
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life—is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives into the age [1 John 2:15-17].
You will notice here that the invitation and opportunity is for those who will live “into the age.” This is the Greek phrase “eis ton aion,” which is used in some most revealing passages in the New Testament applying specifically to the Millennial age. For example, in John 8:51 we equally read: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word, he will surely not taste death into the age (eis ton aion).” For other uses of this specific phrase, read The Best Is Before Us—The Latter Rain, page 2. Again, it is MOST appropriate that this message that applies more specifically to the second Remnant, looks to the promise of entering into the Millennial age. Consequently, never has there been a time for more caution and circumspect behavior than today, as well as a resolute commitment to turn away from these things of the world.
Proceeding now to the message to Christianity, we find that these like instructive passages from Paul regarding worldliness are but three in number. Regarding the second Remnant portion of the New Testament, we noted that this message is concentrated. This is indeed the case, for Paul’s writings are twice as much text as that in Hebrews through Revelation. And if you do not count Revelation, which is mainly a parable and not directly instructional, it is more than three times as much text.
In addition, Paul is unique in that one of these three exhortations is regarding having a right mind, and another is specifically relative to right doctrine. This would be consistent with his training as a Pharisee and his emphasis on doctrine in his writings. Also, Paul likewise correctly exhorts the believer, but not with the passion, consequences, and urgency, and certainly not with the identification of living into the Millennial reign, of those we have just read.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [Romans 12:2].
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ [Colossians 2:8].
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus … [Titus 2:11-13].
You will notice in the last verse that the timing here is quite different and very confirming regarding what we are seeing. It is identified as taking place “in the present age,” which is of course Christianity, and “looking for the blessed appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior.” While this latter statement indeed looks to the coming of Immanuel and the Millennial reign, it lacks the personal fulfillment that is found in the second Remnant portion where the Bride believer “lives into the age” (eis ton aion). Again, this is like unto the passage in John 8:51 where we read: “he will surely not taste death into the age.”
Additionally, the comment that was made regarding Paul’s seeming lesser passion concerning the world, is not to diminish in any way the value of what is written there, or the necessity of keeping this instruction or heeding its warnings. The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is profitable for all and should be studied and its truths applied. But the point here is that, clearly, there is a timely message within the pattern of these New Testament books that we are wise to examine, pointing to an urgent call to the second Remnant to shun the world and to be holy.
If we are to be a bride prepared without spot or wrinkle, who enter into immortality and reign with Yahshua in the Millennial reign, then it is essential our affection be for that which is above and not for this world. As noted in the last posting, if we want to ascend alive into heaven and enter into an immortal, incorruptible body, then we must demonstrate this by how we prove ourselves today. How can we be worthy to enter into the heavenlies, if we live our lives today in corruption? By our actions we prove what we truly desire, and will receive what we pursue on this earth while in this flesh—either the world or the heavenly.
Let us now look at the differences in the first Remnant portion of the New Testament—Matthew through Acts 8. You will notice that the message here regarding the world is uniquely different from those relative to Christianity and the second Remnant, once again confirming the telling distinctions in these three divisions. Each of these quotes are the words of Yahshua.
“And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” [Mark 4:18-19].
“Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” [Matthew 18:7]
Finally, from John 15:19 and 17:14 we read:
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”
“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
Thus we see that the message relative to the first Remnant, which they personally heard and received, is unique in that Yahshua, essentially, points out the conflict with the world. Also, it lacks the exhortation for abstention found not only in Paul’s letters reflecting Christianity, but even moreso in Hebrews through Revelation that speak to the second Remnant. This could be because of the short duration of that work and its fervency.
The question then today is: Are we going to take these warnings serious, particularly pertaining to the instruction to the second Remnant? Will we, the fulfilling second Remnant, choose not to be stained by the world, as written in James 1:27?
To understand more regarding this matter of worldliness and its effects, let us further examine the sober warning of James 4:4:
You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
What is an adulterer? It is one who has relations with another when already bound to someone, thereupon establishing a covenant with the unlawful party. This act risks and even calls for nullification of the covenant with the one to whom they were rightly joined. Remember, any sexual intercourse is a legally consequential act, even a covenant, whereby the male passes between the split covenant parts of the female and the two become one flesh. So, how can James call these “adulterers”?
One of the ways to examine this is to see the application, cause, and consequence set forth in another second Remnant book—Revelation. Here, we will consider the impact of the world upon the church and its outcome for the last two thousand years. In Revelation 17 and 18, as well as the beginning of 19, we find the account regarding “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth” (Revelation 17:5). Let us read some of the descriptive statements regarding mystery Babylon.
The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality (Revelation 17:4).
“For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality” (Revelation 18:3).
“Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls” (Revelation 18:16).
So, who is mystery Babylon? There are many ideas that people purport. Some say America, some say Catholicism, some might even say it is the world’s economic system. But Yahweh has provided the Scriptures for the purpose of instructing us truly regarding one particular thing—the church, the kingdom. The entirety of the Old Testament points to the kingdom, and if you read The Great Tribulation, you will see that the book of Revelation has the same purpose. So, who then is mystery Babylon? It is the church that we have known for two thousand years. Simply stated, it is Christianity. Martin Luther was correct in saying that Catholicism was mystery Babylon; but he did not realize that he too, as a Protestant, was still a part of that work.
There are many evidences that this is correct. In All’s Well That Ends Well, page 2, we see clear evidence of this. Furthermore, in Revelation 18:4-5, we read the call to the Bride to come out of mystery Babylon, out of the afflicted and sleeping Body of Christ:
I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.”
You will notice that “her sins have piled up to heaven.” This is no different than the tower of Babel, “whose top reaches into heaven” (Genesis 11:4). This is what the church has done as a flesh work for two thousand years—it is a work with its feet planted here on earth that reaches to heaven. Likewise, it is Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, who was a tree planted “in the midst of the earth and its height was great. The tree grew large and became strong and its height reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth” (Daniel 4:10-11). Again, this is a testimony of Christianity, which, like Nebuchadnezzar, has been given the mind of a beast for seven periods of time (Daniel 4:16)—the mark of the beast (The Issue – II, page 5). And so this will be until it too comes to its senses that “the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men” (Daniel 4:17). Then Yahweh will restore Christianity as well.
Thus, whether it be mystery Babylon, whose sins have piled up to heaven, or the tower of Babel, whose top reached into heaven, or Nebuchadnezzar, who was a tree that equally reached into heaven, they all speak of the same work—the church given to man while in the flesh, Christianity. They are flesh man, reaching up to God while still of this earth; when what MUST happen is that man must ascend into heaven and be born from above into an immortal, incorruptible body. What we must have is not man reaching up to God, but God reaching down to man, being here in person as Immanuel, “God with us.”
Another highly revealing evidence that mystery Babylon is Christianity is attested in her clothing—she “was clothed in purple and scarlet.” Where else do we see someone clothed in these two specific colors? In Mark 15:17 and Matthew 27:28. This was at the affliction and crucifixion of Yahshua. In Mark 15:17 they placed a purple robe on Him, and in Matthew 27:28 they placed a scarlet robe on Him. Therefore, Yahshua was clothed in purple and scarlet. So what does this mean? Quite simply—as went Christ, so goes the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is the afflicted work as set forth by Christ’s example. But furthermore, in their affliction they also become “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.”
Briefly, yet another revealing and even obvious evidence is that “Babylon” means “confusion.” With 35,000 different denominations and sects with widely varying and contradicting teachings and practices, Christianity is clearly Babylonian confusion.
Additionally, in Revelation 17:4 and 5, we read that mystery Babylon had in her hand “a gold cup full of abominations,” and that “on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, ‘Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.’ ” Yes, this is a mystery indeed. What is that mystery? The mystery is—the abomination of desolation, seen here and spoken of in Daniel 9 and 12 and other references, has been taking place in the church for two thousand years. Thus, once again we see clear testimony that mystery Babylon is Christianity.
Another evidence of this is that when Babylon falls in Revelation 18 and 19:1-3, the very next scene is the twenty-four elders. Of course the fall of Christianity is followed by the uniting of the two Remnant in heaven—providing the sum of twenty-four elders. Thus we read in Revelation 19:4-9 the following account regarding the Bride. As you read this, keep in mind that the “great multitude” spoken of here is the same “great multitude” in Revelation 7:9-12—the second Remnant, bearing the palm branches, preparing the way for Immanuel’s triumphal coming.
And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And a voice came from the throne, saying, “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ “ And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”
The much needed fulfillment of this event cannot come too soon!
What then does the church perform even from its beginning, and is rampant today, that qualifies it as an adulteress? Remember, adultery is when one has relations with another when already bound to someone, thereupon establishing a covenant with the unlawful party. So, how and with whom has mystery Babylon Christianity committed adultery?
First, adultery requires two and even three parties to be involved. The first party is the Body of Christ. Legally, they are united with Yahshua, the second party. Remember, in the heavenlies there is neither male nor female (Matthew 22:30); but even so, there are governmental relationships that follow these same obligations. In this regard, the Body of Christ is obligated to Yahshua to not be united with another. This governmental relationship is evidenced in that mystery Babylon is indeed female. In like regard and testimony, this is the harlotry Israel committed against her husband, Yahweh, for which He divorced her and sent her away (Jeremiah 3:1-8). Yahweh is providing in both of these examples a testimony of how the church would and is having an unfaithful and unlawful relationship with another. To whom are they uniting themselves? To a third party—the world!
This is confirmed in James 4:4 where he identifies them as “adulteress.” Some of those believers who were “dispersed abroad” (James 1:1) were giving themselves to the world, for which he warned that “friendship with the world is hostility toward God”—being unlawful and threatening the relationship. Again, this is the same guilt that Israel fell into—the people of God were having relations with the world’s idols (Jeremiah 3:1-8). What was the outcome? In verse 8 we read: “And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce ….” This is the very risk that believers take when likewise having relations with the world.
So, what are the acts of adultery whereby the church has unfaithfully joined itself to the world? We will very briefly address some of these acts, as there is little need to elaborate on or belabor this.
- Emphasis of, concentration on, and massive investment in buildings
- Worldly church programs that are meant to draw people into the church
- Accumulation of wealth and general materialism
- Preferring the prestige and approval of man: “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” (John 5:44)
- Preferring the wealthy and popular over the lowly (James 2:1-5)
- Seeking and preaching material wealth, rather than righteous deeds
- Preferring the government of men, rather than the government of God
- Celebrating the world’s holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and birthdays
- Preaching messages that are merely social or positive reinforcement psychology
- Teaching eternal hell fire punishment and suffering that is from Greek mythology
- Accepting, using, and encouraging worldly music, including Christianity’s worldly versions
- Allowing divorce, other than for fornication
- Allowing acts of immorality without correction
- Women dress immodestly like the world, including cutting their hair short and wearing makeup
- Men look like women by following the Greeks and shaving their faces
- Failure of women to cover their heads
- Fulfilling the curse on the woman, allowing them to occupy the governmental place of the man
- Approving and even bringing worldly entertainment into the church service and into Sunday schools
- Bringing money-making businesses into the church building such as coffee shops
- The use of ungodly worldly speech and slang (Matthew 12:36-37)
- Women forsake the home and stand in the workplace of a man
- Failure of Christians to tithe, not giving out of one’s provision but using all for oneself
This does not include the vast array of false teachings, which do not necessarily qualify as worldliness, but doctrinal error.
This sad assessment is a tragic commentary for today, and points us to our own personal need to turn away from the world, as well as the need for the Bride to come out of the harlot and perform “deeds consistent with repentance,” adding much needed moral virtue to our faith.
In the next posting, we will shift from this corporal examination of the church having relations with the world, and move to one’s individual responsibility. If we, the Bride, are going to ascend alive into heaven and be joined to Immanuel, we cannot be joined to this world! We cannot continue to be like others, but must be decidedly and distinguishably different. Simply stated, if we want to put on the incorruptible, we must seek to live a life not entwined in corruption. As it is written, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives into the age.”
This will require certain choices for us—choices that set us apart from the world—and we will begin to examine those choices in the next posting.