Religion the Opium of the Masses
So what is God’s problem with Christianity? First of all let me make it clear that I do not assume to know all that the Almighty Creator of heaven thinks or feels about everything. But I can have some indication through the revelation He has given us through the scriptures. And I can also see and know in part His judgements regarding certain things through His indwelling Spirit which leads us into all truth.
Paul says that if we have the Spirit we have the mind of Christ and can therefore make accurate judgements (see 1Co2). I believe this is really what discernment is all about and it is also my firm conviction that true and accurate discernment is our greatest weakness in the church today.
If you think that God is fine with Christianity as it stands today it is painfully obvious that you too lack true and accurate discernment. God did not intend for Christianity to become an institutional religion and He does not want to make us all Christians either.
The previous statement will probably cause every orthodox evangelical believer to suffer a mild heart attack and label me as a heretic. If you are offended by this statement I’m exceedingly happy. God offends the mind so as to reveal our hearts. If you are offended it probably means that you are religious. That’s okay as long as you read on so that the truth may set you free. Remember that the truth sometimes makes you mad before it sets you free!
It has been said that religion is the opium of the masses and this much is true. Opium dulls the sense and clouds our vision and judgement. Christianity is littered with Christians who are senseless and ignorant, unable to discern correctly and make accurate judgements. God is in the business of setting us free from the intoxicating effects of religion.
Christianity was never intended to become a religion. And Jesus did not come so we may become Christians. Jesus came so that we could have open and free access to God and become sons and daughters of God. He did this through His vicarious death on the cross when He took care of our sins and our sinful nature once and for all. Through the rent veil which is His flesh we have now open access into this grace which we now stand by faith.
There is a revolution that has begun that will radically change the face of Christianity and the Church, as well as impact the earth even in a greater way than the early apostolic church did in the first century. A revolution speaks of a radical and violent change. Jesus is once again cleansing the temple.
In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.
And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.
And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
Jesus cleansed the temple on two occasions during His earthly ministry and a third time after He ascended to heaven. The third time He cleansed it He had it totally destroyed in 70ad when the Romans sacked Jerusalem after the Jewish rebellion. If you think that God would not do such things, think again.
It stands to reason that if God has done this once before He could very well do it again. As it is said by McManus in his book “The Barbarian Way;” We find in Jesus the hostility of God turns toward empty religion and the mercy of God turn toward the outcast and sinner. Two thousand years ago God started a revolt against the religion that He started. So don’t put it past God to cause a groundswell movement against churches and Christian institutions that bears His name.”
In the book of Hebrews we have a scripture that confirms that God would in fact destroy the temple and Judaism as the very idols of the Jewish nation at that time. This book was written before the destruction of the temple in 70AD. And it is a matter of fact that God used heathen nations to destroy the temple twice before in the history of Israel.
Hebrews 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming
obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Here we read how the new covenant inaugurated by Christ made the old covenant obsolete. Not only
so, but we also read that the entire system of the mosaic law and regulations along with the temple
would, “vanish away” or would come to nothing.
If we would make a study of the book of Hebrews we would realize that God’s judgement is on institutional religion wrought with dead formalism, rituals, traditions and the like. Jesus was angered when He saw that the temple which was meant as a place of worship became nothing but a place of business.
Religion is big business. And where ever we have reduced Christianity to an institutional religion with the appendages of formalism, rituals, and tradition we find it becomes a business instead of worship unto God. This is God’s greatest contention with institutional religion. Instead of worshipping Him we are worshipping the idols of religion, materialism, this world and ourselves.
Religion causes us to worship the temple of the Lord instead of the Lord of the temple. The Pharisees and the Jews were guilty of this idolatry and for this God destroyed their temple and their religion. That does not bode well for the religious and institutional church and Christians of today.
The Third Day Church
As previously stated Jesus cleansed the temple on three different occasions. We also read that Jesus said to the Pharisee’s that He would raise the destroyed temple in three days to attest to His authority for cleansing the temple. Jesus was speaking of His body as we read in the gospel of John.
We know that the temple of the Lord today is the believing Christian in whom the father and Son has made their home. We also know that the body of Christ is the church and that this too is His temple in which He dwells collectively. It stands to reason then that Jesus did not only speak of His physical body that He would raise up on the third day but also His church.
Jesus has also cleansed this temple before on two occasions in the church’s history. The first time was when Luther and others stood against the lies and injustices of institutional Christianity known at that time as the Roman Catholic Church. This was a reformation of doctrine and the greatest truth of our faith, righteousness by faith or salvation by grace was restored to the church. In truth this reformation has yet to be completed since we still not accurately interpret these very important truths as yet.
The second time was when the Spirit of God was poured out at Azusa Street and the Pentecostal movement was birthed. This was a reformation of worship and ministry in the church. Since then there were many other movements that saw the equipping ministries restored to the church.
We are now at the eve of the third reformation and the dawning of the greatest movement of the Spirit yet. This reformation will be a reformation of doctrine, worship and ministry. It will be a movement of word and Spirit. It will mark the uprising of the Third Day Church.
Jesus said that His body would rise up on the Third Day. This was in fact meant as a challenge to the Pharisee’s and their institutional religion. Jesus said to them; “destroy my body and I will raise it up on the third day.” The religious zealots of His time had Him killed and He was raised up on the third day.
Peter in His epistle says that a day with the Lord is like a thousand to us. We know prophetically in scriptures that a day sometimes speaks of a year. The Pharisees of the church and institutional Christianity has succeeded in their goal to destroy the Lord’s church His body since he ascended to heaven. We are now in the third day as the church, for we are in the third millennium since Christ walked the earth. The Lord will once again raise up His body on the third day.
We are very far from what we are supposed to be as the church of the Lord but soon He will raise up His true church, His Third Day Church. This will come to pass through the revolution or third reformation as previously mentioned that is about to break out. During this reformation the church will once again return to its simplicity of devotion to Christ and the bare essentials of the faith that makes us so different to religion and the world.
Through this reformation we will come to an accurate understanding of the word and doctrines. Through this reformation our faith will once again becoming living and powerful. Through this reformation the church will once again worship in spirit and truth and not in ignorance and the flesh. Through this reformation the church will once again become the light and the salt of the world. Through this reformation the church will once again become the reflection of God’s glory as it powerfully and accurately represents Jesus to the world.
This reformation will cause many prophecies regarding the church to be fulfilled especially the prophecy of Paul in Ephesians 4; “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” This reformation will cause Christ to be revealed through His church and this in turn will usher in His soon coming and return.
Already the great shaking has started which is meant to wake us up and prepare us for this reformation and revolution. This shaking is also the birth pains of the coming forth of God’s Third Day Church. This shaking will not relent and it will ultimately cause the demise of institutional Christianity and its leaders/Pharisees and its followers. The questions you need to ask yourself is where have you placed your loyalty and will you embrace this new move of God?
Hebrews 12:27-29 “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered. Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!
by Marcus Visser