As a result of two previous experiences in the expectation of Christ’s coming, God has worked to refine, define, and more fully prepare His people for what is ahead. All this needs to be understood in the context of how this is related to what God’s Church first began to experience in late 2007. Although we have just reviewed some of this, it is good to be reminded, as it applies to how God has transformed the focus of our thinking in regard to His Son’s return.
In the first experience in the anticipation of Christ’s coming, the Church had a focus in late 2007 and on into the first half of 2008 that the return of Christ would be on the Feast of Trumpets in 2011. Then a few months later, God revealed that this was not correct, as the Messiah’s coming would be on a Pentecost (50th Truth), and not on a Feast of Trumpets. When this new truth was revealed to the Church near Pentecost of 2008, it became an important “test” and “revealer” of who God’s people were that were worshipping Him in spirit and in truth and of those who were not. However, we did not fully grasp that then.
This became a “test” on three defining fronts. The first (not a matter of numerical order), was that this was the first major area that forced God’s remnant Church to address within themselves – in their individual thinking – whether a true prophet of God could be in error in giving the Church the focus of 2011 for Christ’s coming. The way in which one would largely answer this would lie in their faith concerning the next two defining fronts.
This matter became a big test for a few, as it quickly brought into question whether I was a prophet, and it did so to the degree that these few showed more of their true inner self by becoming critical, angry, disgruntled, depressed, and/or even bitter. This even included a few within the ministry.
This in-itself proved to be a “revealer” of those who were seeking to worship God in spirit and in truth, and of those who had let down spiritually by becoming lifted up in pride, in self-reliance, and in spiritual superiority over others – even toward their teachers whom God had given them. There were others caught in the middle of all this on whom God had mercy and gave opportunity to repent.
Of those who had the stronger adverse responses, God did not forget! Many of these were judged that they would not be allowed to share in His ways and in fellowship all the way through to the return of His Son. Yet they would be allowed to continue for a while longer in the environs of the Church as a means of trying and testing others, but would become removed during the time of the actual “measuring of the temple.”
A second defining area in the response of some, in all that led up to the revelation of this 50th Truth, was in the measurement of their true faith in God’s government that He had established in His one and only true Church. For some who should have known better, this became a test, that in reality, revealed their lack of conviction of such truth.
This of course ties in with this being a test on a third front as to their true conviction and belief of the 49 Truths that had already been revealed prior to this. Of these truths, one truth powerfully separated God’s true Church from all others that were scattered. This concerned whether Jesus Christ had eternally existed, which all other scattered groups believed to be the case. Yet God revealed to His remnant Church that He alone was Yahweh Elohim, our El (God) who has eternally existed. This one truth alone is proof enough of where God is working amongst those who became scattered.
A Second Focus on Christ’s Coming
As previously shown, learning that Christ would not return on Trumpets but on a Pentecost, led, at that time around Pentecost of 2008, to the expectation of the return of Christ being moved ahead to Pentecost of 2012. This experience of faithfully “living out the anticipation” of this event, which did not occur, helped to transform the thinking of the Church to a far more balanced and sound approach to being more fully “prepared” for that actual event and the great work that precedes it.
As most in the Church were new and had no “experience” in events that preceded and then followed the Apostasy, the thinking and maturity of the Church needed to be refined and defined in order to be properly furnished and ready for the actual coming of Christ. The truth is that there was much to be learned about “motive” and “self” through this experience. Rather than having a truer, deeper, and more sound desire for Christ’s coming, too many actually saw this date of Pentecost 2012 as a means of escape from their personal struggles and present battles in life.
Then after “faithfully living” such a focus for that entire period of “God’s final witness” that led up to that Pentecost of 2012, the Church was once again brought to another moment in time that required each person to answer what they truly believed and where they actually stood. Through this process, God was more rapidly maturing, refining, and strengthening those who were His people – in true fellowship with Him. God was making His Church to stand. Most of the Church came to more deeply see and understand that we must struggle with our own human nature our entire physical life-time, and that living God’s way of life is always the only right and meaningful choice throughout such a life-time.
The fruit that was produced through this unique experience for the Church was a truer and stronger humility of spirit (the wearing of sackcloth), which is so essential in the battle against selfish human nature and the ugliness of pride.
Yet again, there were some who were not in true unity and fellowship with God. These two experiences in the anticipation of Christ’s return became “too much” for these individuals, and this actually revealed that they were not worshipping God in spirit and in truth. They did not believe many of the 57 Truths God had given His Church. Some of these simply drifted away while others became filled with certain attitudes or combinations of them, such as bitterness, anger, depression, and hatred, and thereby becoming slanderous, vindictive, and false accusers of members and the truths of God.
Although some were the same people, these individuals and those who had responded so poorly in the first experience of moving Christ’s return from Trumpets to Pentecost, began to be cleansed from any relationship or the appearance of such a relationship with God and His Church. This has been taking place since the Church entered this new period we are now in – the “measuring of the temple.”
In Spirit and In Truth
Through these two previous experiences in the anticipation of Christ’s coming, God indeed has been refining, defining, and preparing a faithful people for a great work that is yet ahead of them. The majority of the Church has been made to stand in unity of truth, in a vastly matured faith, and in a more powerful focus of purpose.
This now brings us back to the beginning of this series, Measuring the Temple, and those verses that speak of this time that we entered beginning on Pentecost of 2012.
“Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months’” (Rev. 11:1-2).
Although some aspects of these verses are not readily seen, God’s spirit conveys the true meaning of what is being spoken. The angel told John to rise up and measure the temple. We know that this is speaking of a specific period of time – a specific prophetic 42 months in which the Church (the temple) is to be measured.
Measuring the temple is nothing new for God’s Church, as this has been a continuing necessity since the Church began, but this is now speaking of a far more intense and thorough measuring and focus for this specific period of time. The reason for this is due to where we now are in God’s plan. We are rapidly closing in on a final “great work” that God will do just before His Son is sent back to reign as the Messiah, and before that happens, the temple is to be thoroughly measured.
The structure of the Church (the temple) that will continue on is being readied – prepared – to fulfill a calling of participating in that final great work. In order to accomplish that work in a more powerful and profound manner, at the end of the age of man’s self-rule, the Church must be more fully yielded to God in unity and purpose. This is so God can more fully “dwell in” His Church to accomplish that great work.
This instruction given by the angel to measure the temple is about measuring the entire Church. Although it is about everyone within the environs of the Church, the first focus is upon the ministry being measured or removed from the temple. This is the intent for why the “altar” is mentioned, as this reveals a focus that is about those who are first and foremost recognized by their “service” at the altar – the ministry.
Yet all in the Church are partakers of the altar. So it is made clear by the next phrase in the instruction from the angel that the measuring of the temple is about everyone in the Church – those who worship “in” the temple. This period is an intense time of measuring the Church – of measuring all who seek to worship God in spirit and in truth, for there is no other way to truly worship God.
Those who are not truly seeking to worship God in spirit and truth are not to be measured at all. Instead, they are to be clearly removed from any such false appearance of doing so. Through a great variety of means, God is bringing such false worshippers to light and revealing that they have become non-believers – given over to the gentiles. Not only this, but the manner in which God reveals such individuals also opens them up to strong spirit forces that work to turn them into active adversaries of God’s Church. Most of these become part of that which “tread(s) the holy city (the Church) underfoot for forty-two months.”
Because of the actions of such individuals who so betray God and Christ during a time that has followed the Apostasy, when God has poured out more truth and grace upon His people than at any other time, these people have been given strong judgment. They are to bear a shame of being opened up to a spirit world that works to make them active adversaries of God’s Church – of members, the leadership, and the truths of God. During this period, these are tormented in mind and thinking about the Church, just as the demonic world is becoming more tormented by what God is doing through His Church, and because they know they have a very short time remaining.
“But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the gentiles” (Rev. 11:2). This first sentence in verse 2 is instruction that a clear delineation is to be made with those who are not worshipping “in” the temple – those not worshipping God in spirit and in truth. Instead, they are standing around the environs of the Church – in the court – as though they are in true fellowship with those who are worshipping in the temple.
God has been removing such false worshippers, with a primary focus being first and foremost upon the ministry. Those who are ordained to be faithful servants of God to His people carry a strong measure of responsibility in “their example alone” that should always reflect that they stand fast, are supportive, and encouraging in unity and truth. When they “do not serve” in these right actions, great harm is easily inflicted upon others.
Since this period for measuring the temple began, it is dumbfounding how much of the ministry has been visibly experiencing this “measuring” and how many have been rejected in measurement – cast over to the gentiles.
Since Pentecost of 2012, 24 ministers have been cast out of the environs of the Church. Of these, one was an evangelist, 4 were sr. elders, 10 were elders, and 9 were associate elders. These are no longer in the false position of giving the appearance of worshipping “in” the temple, but have been cast out with the gentiles – those who are trampling the Church underfoot for 42 months.
Through Paul, God states, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defiles (Gk. – corrupts, makes waste of, causes ruin to) the temple of God, him shall God destroy (same Gk. word for corrupt, to cause ruin); for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (1 Cor. 3:16-17).
Focusing first upon the ministry, if anyone ceases to worship “in” the temple in spirit and in truth, and instead, begins to make waste of it and cause ruin in it, God will remove such individuals and give them over to themselves, being wasted and ruined – to become even more fully corrupted.
These ex-ministers have indeed been turned over to becoming more fully corrupted and even to a shameful alliance with a spirit world that seeks to slander, mock, and belittle God’s people and the truth God has given – who participate in helping to trample the Church underfoot. These have turned away from truths God has given His Church since the Apostasy and even from truths that existed prior to that.
Some have gone back to a doctrine of Christ having existed for all eternity; Petra is a physical place of safety; there was no Apostasy or man of sin revealed by God; a belief of a 14th/15th Passover (where it begins to be observed toward the close of the 14th and then after sundown on into the 15th). If they believe any truth God has revealed to His Church since the Apostasy (Truths 22 through 57), then they are in horrible spiritual conflict and torment because there is only one place that teaches these truths. So God has given them over to greater spiritual ruin and corruption.
To no longer be able to be measured within the temple is an incredible shame and waste. Many of these had been awakened spiritually after the Apostasy, and now for a second time have turned from God. This is far worse than those who fell asleep and were cast out of God’s presence at the time of the Apostasy. Not only that, but since that time, God gave an additional 36 truths to His Church and these individuals have turned their backs on what God revealed.
So the focus is one that is first and foremost upon the ministry, for either not being measured at all (the court outside the temple) or of being amongst all others within the Church who are being measured. As of now, there are 2 elders and 9 associate elders that no longer serve in the ministry. There are also 3 elders who now serve as associate elders. All are still among the others within the Church who are seeking to worship God in spirit and in truth.
Within this “measuring process” there are numerous reasons for such changes being made. This needs to be explained more fully, as “everyone” in the Church is being measured and this in-itself will work to produce change and greater growth. Being measured and growing through this process is not a negative factor, but a positive one. So before jumping to conclusions or passing misguided judgment upon others, it is wise to step back, wait, and then seek to learn from Pt. 4 of this series that will follow.