The Oldest Living, And Longest Lasting Teaching Institution On Earth Is The Church Which Jesus Christ Founded!
Think about why this is absolutely true, and why it has to be?
"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?"
This is an interesting verse, because from it we can calculate the approximate date of its happening.
According to historical records of the time, the rebuilding of the Jewish temple was begun in 19 B.C..
Forty-six years later would bring the time up to about 27 A.D..
John chapter 2 is right at the beginning of the three years in which Jesus practiced His ministry. From this calculation, He founded His Church near the end of His ministry on earth three years later or about 30 A.D..
Jesus promised that His Church would last every day in every century until the end of time
(Matthew 28:20, John 14:16-17, Ephesians 3:21), and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
Now, what this means is that in the year 2030, the Church which Jesus Christ founded will be 2000 years old.
His Church is a living Church since it is the Body of Christ, and He is its Head (Ephesians 1:22-23).
The Head of Christ cannot be separated from His Body, therefore He and His Church are one, and very much alive.
This is why Holy Scripture has said, "Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the Church of GOD."
Because, as you can readily see, that when someone persecutes His Church, they are really persecuting Him.
This is shown again in these verses,
"For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, his body, and is himself its Savior."
"And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting;"
Saul had been persecuting His Church as shown in Acts 8:3. Why then, did Jesus say "why do you persecute me?"
Why didn't He say 'why do you persecute my Church'?
A great civilization cannot be destroyed from the
outside unless it first destroys itself from the inside.
Let us make a few observations regarding longevity and survivability of one institutional entity.
The Roman Empire, was the most powerful state the world had ever seen at the time. It was begun in 27 B.C. by Caesar Augustus, and collapsed under Romulus in 476 A.D.. Its total life was 503 years. At the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Church which Jesus Christ founded was already 446 years old despite the fact that it was brutally attacked from within by heretics such as the Simonians, Marcionites, Monarchians, Montanists, Novatians, Donatists, Arians, Jovinians, Pelagians, Nestorians, and scores of others. The Arian heresy alone, started by Arius, an insider priest who denied the divinity of Christ, was blamed for causing many of the faithful priests and Bishops to follow him. Yet despite all the slings and arrows from within, Christ's Church survived. The gates of hell did not prevail. Yet that is only part of the story, since at the same time all of this was going on, the Church was brutally attacked from without by the Jews, Romans, Vandals and many others, yet Christ's Church survived, and all the while it was steadily growing and expanding.
Again, the gates of hell did not prevail.
How then could the powerful Roman Empire collapse and yet the fledgling Church which Jesus Christ founded, survive during those same tumultuous years? That question brings to mind these verses which provide us with the definitive answer:
"So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of GOD, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing GOD!"
From those verses, it is obvious that the Roman Empire was undertaken by men, whereas the Church which Jesus Christ founded is of GOD. Yes, the mighty Roman Empire is long gone, but the Church which Jesus Christ founded is still with us to this very day in spite of centuries of Roman persecution.
Was it not promised by GOD that His Church would last until the end of time as I previously pointed out?
Why then is it so hard for some to believe the Word of GOD?
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the next major
obstacle to Christianity was the founding of Islam early in the seventh century.
We remember the many Christian Crusader - Moslem wars that dragged on for
several centuries. The Church which Jesus Christ founded survived and grew
during that very difficult period, in spite of the fact that the wars were not
won by the Christians. It is generally recognized that the final action in those
wars was the Miracle of Lepanto in 1571 where Moslem
inroads into Europe were finally stopped by outnumbered and out-gunned
Again, the gates of hell did not prevail. Echo, echo, echo, Acts 5:38-39.
In 1520, the Church which Jesus Christ founded, was
beset with more attacks from within, by the heresy of Protestantism.
Martin Luther and several others who led the Protestant revolt were insider priests of that Church. These attacks from within led to several bloody conflicts from without, such as the persecutions by Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth, and the wars with Oliver Cromwell and others, and which caused many loyal priests and Bishops to suffer martyrdom. There was a large temporary outflux soon after 1520 when approximately nine million European members of the Body of Christ left and formed a multitude of Protestant denominations. However, beginning in 1531 the Church had an influx of ten million new converts in Mexico due to the miraculous event of Guadalupe in that year. This influx more than made up for the outflow in Europe. Despite the turmoil of the Protestant revolt, the Church which Jesus Christ founded continued to grow.
Again, the gates of hell did not prevail. It is GOD's guarantee that His Church will be protected and will continue to grow.
His Church has always been much larger than any individual within it.
If you look closely, you can easily see that the fingerprints of GOD can be detected from the final outcomes of these events.
Compare the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel, with the advent of Protestantism. Both groups, being threats to GOD's plan of salvation, were almost immediately divided into small pieces and rendered impotent, Babel by a plethora of languages, and Protestantism by a plethora of sects, which at the time of this writing, number more than 35,500*.
For he who has eyes to see, and ears to hear, behold the fingerprints of GOD!
"Knowing their thoughts, he said to them,
"Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand;"
While Protestantism is imploding (surely as a house divided against itself), with declining membership in the main line sects, the Church which Jesus Christ founded is exploding with a total world membership now of 1.1 billion*.
* "World Christian Encyclopedia", a Protestant publication. You may purchase it here.
Two great world wars during the twentieth century caused
much suffering for the Church. Many religious were murdered especially during
WWII. In 1917 yet another miracle occurred, the Miracle of Fatima in Portugal in which the Blessed Virgin Mary
appeared to three peasant children and told them that the war (WWI) would end
soon, but another and worse one would start during the reign of Pope Pius XI.
WWI did end in 1918 and WWII did begin in 1938 during the reign of Pope Pius XI.
She also told of the rise of Communism and that Russia will spread her errors
over the whole world. The Communist take-over of Russia did take place only one
month after she said this, and we all know what the scourge of Communism did for
the whole world.
On June 4, 1944, Rome was liberated from Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. Just weeks before then, Hitler had ordered a German regiment to enter the Vatican and kill everyone therein. The German commander refused to obey the order.
Was that yet another miracle? Was the Hand of GOD involved in this? Please read Ephesians 5:23 again.
With a little common sense and
reasoning, it all becomes crystal clear and so very simple:
1. Jesus said,"I am the way, the truth and the life". John 14:6
2. Therefore truth is a person, the Divine Person of Jesus Christ.
3. Since Jesus is only one person, there can be only one truth.
4. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus founded His one Church, and He did say that He would protect it from within and from without for all time, since He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against it.
5. His Church is His Body and He is the Head, and He is the Savior of His Body. Ephesians 5:23.
6. He proved this many times in Scripture by performing Miracles for the salvation of His Church such as the encounter with Saul for one, in Acts 9:4-5. Since GOD is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17), why then do some feel that GOD can not, or does not, perform similar salvific miracles in our times?
7. In Matthew 28:20, He promised that His Church would last every day in every century until the end of time.
8. Consequently, His Church has existed every day from the day of its founding (30 A.D.) until this very day.
9. Despite the non-stop merciless persecution from within and from without for almost 2000 years, the Church which Jesus Christ founded, has grown in every century since its founding, and now comprises about one-sixth of the entire population of the earth. How can this possibly be unless Jesus Christ truly is the Savior of His Body?
His promise of Matthew 28:20 is continually being fulfilled.
10. Christ made all of these salvific promises for His Church simply because He loves His Church;
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her..."
"For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, as Christ does the Church..."
The Scripture verses to which I have referred in this writing are all so very simple and clear, and the truth is all too obvious that Jesus Christ does indeed love, and cherish, and protect His Church.
Why then is it that Bible believing Protestants cannot even name that one Church which Jesus Christ founded and so loves, even though it has been highly visible in the world continuously for almost 2000 years?
Well if you do not have the answer to that question, Holy Scripture does in the following verses:
Although they had seen Jesus perform so many miracles, they wouldn't believe in him. In this way the words of the prophet Isaiah came true: "Lord, who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord's power been revealed?" So the people couldn't believe because, as Isaiah also said, "God blinded them and made them close-minded so that their eyes don't see and their minds don't understand. And they never turn to me for healing!"
"He will give everlasting life to those who search for glory, honor, and immortality by persisting in doing what is good. But he will bring anger and fury on those who, in selfish pride, refuse to believe the truth and who follow what is wrong."
"He who does not believe the Son, makes him a liar..."
Those who deny that the same Church which Jesus Christ founded is still with us today and with Him as its Head, find themselves embedded in 1John 5:10, and are guilty of what it has said. They do not believe Him since:
They have denied that Jesus Christ is the Savior of His Body as in Ephesians 5:23.
They have denied His promise that His Church would last every day in every century as He said it would in Matthew 28:20.
They have denied that His Church would last for all time and eternity as Saint Paul said it would in Ephesians 3:21.
They have denied that Jesus loves His Church as Saint Paul recounted in Ephesians 5:25 and 5:29.
They have denied that the Holy Spirit would be with His Church forever as He promised in John 14:16-17.
They have denied that the Spirit of Truth has come to His Church as He promised in John 16:12-14.
They have denied that Jesus would not leave His Church orphaned as He promised in John 14:18.
They have denied that the Head and the Body are one and cannot be separated, Ephesians 1:22-23.
They have denied Jesus Christ Himself since He and His Church are one and the same Body, Ephesians 1:22-23.
They have indeed refused to believe Him in all of these verses.
Therefore they have surely made the Son of GOD a liar.
The verdict for those who deny any, or all of these verses is...GUILTY as charged in 1John 5:10.
Written by Bob Stanley, March 29, 2003
Updated April 19, 2003
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