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The Deep Things of Satan
11 September 2014
In this last of nine articles presenting extracts from Charles E. Newbold’s book The Harlot Church System, I am sharing Chapter 17 in its entirety, plus an extensive endnote related to this chapter.
In this book, the author’s thoughts and arguments build from one chapter to the next. Therefore, if you have not read the previous parts yet, I strongly encourage you to do so now before you read today’s article. This is especially important because throughout the book, Mr. Newbold uses words like church, “it,” “Self” and “Thing,” with very precise and special meanings. In order to understand what he means by these words, you will want to read his introduction in Chapter 1 of Part 1 very carefully.
As I shared previously, Entire sentences highlighted in this color are MY emphasis — thoughts which struck me as especially important. All other emphasis is the author’s, or implied by the author. If the flow of thought from paragraph to paragraph feels disjointed at times, that’s because it is! Except for the three articles in which I share entire chapters, I’ve taken paragraphs which were spread throughout each chapter, so there can be large chunks of text missing in between the paragraphs I’ve included here. That’s why you need to buy your own copy and read the whole thing!
Isaiah 14:12-13). Isaiah 14:3-11,22-23. If we remove the subheadings and the chapters and verses that have arbitrarily been given to these verses, they read as one continuous passage, thus linking Lucifer with Babylon as the king of Babylon.Other articles of extracts from The Harlot Church System:
Secondly, we note that Lucifer made five boasts, five “I wills.” He seeks to usurp the place of God in heaven, to exalt his throne above the stars, to sit upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north, to ascend above the heights of the clouds, and to be like the most High. This is what Babylon is about — the exaltation of Self. It is all that the carnal mind devises.
Thirdly and most particularly, Lucifer said he would sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north. Psalms 48:2 lets us know that “the sides of the north” refers to Mount Zion: “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” The “great King” in this verse refers to Yahweh who is Jesus. Psalms 2:6 declares, “Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion.” Zion is God's dwelling place (Psalm 9:11) and is “the city of the great king.”
Zion is also a type of God’s holy remnant. “Remember Your congregation who You have purchased of old, the rod of Your inheritance who You have redeemed, this Mount Zion, wherein You dwell” (Psalm 74:2). Also we read, “They who trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion” (Psalm 125:1). Lucifer intended from the beginning of time to seat himself as the head of the congregation of God’s people.
Israel was the congregation of God’s people, as are all true believers in Christ to this day. Lucifer sought to be the head of Israel then, just as he seeks to be the head of the body of Christ to this day. Luke 4:13 reads, “And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him [Jesus] for a season.” But only for a season? Satan wasted no time to deceive, if possible, the elect of God (Matthew 24:24). His takeover of the churches should be no surprise to us.
We read in the book of Revelation how involved Satan was in three of the assemblies of called-out-ones (ekklesia) that are mentioned there. He, not Jesus, was ruling their hearts. Jesus was standing and knocking outside of the door, spiritually speaking, of the ekklesia in Laodicea saying, “... if any man hear My voice and opens the door, I will come into to him and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). Revelation 2:13). The interpretation of this phrase, where Satan’s seat is, is not clear. Is Satan’s seat [throne] in the middle of this assembly of called-out-ones? Does he have his throne in the same city where they are? Or, are there simply people in the assembly at Pergamos who represent Satan’s actions?
It says that his seat is there and then says that he dwells there. This agrees with Satan’s own aspiration to seat himself also upon “the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.” Whichever is the case, he stirred up persecution among them. Jesus commended those who upheld His name and did not deny the faith. Nevertheless, He held a few things against them because they had some among them who followed the teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitans (see Chapter 9).
Satan was in the middle of all of this. It would be naïve to think that Satan could be elsewhere. His mission has always been to wage war against Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, and His assembly of called-out-ones. Whatever else he does in the world, he does it in order to try to embarrass, usurp, or dethrone Jesus or to rob Him of His inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:18). Satan will not set up his throne outside of the encampments of God’s people unless he must. Unfortunately, because of people’s fleshly ways and harlot hearts, he has been given free room and board to camp within. He positions himself as close to the center of God’s people as he can. Chapter 11). She taught and seduced His servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. Jesus had even given her time to repent, but she did not. Consequently, He said He would cast her into a sickbed and would cast those who committed adultery with her into great tribulation; that is, unless they repented of their deeds.
Moreover, Jesus said He would kill Jezebel’s children with death so that all of the called-out-ones would know that He is the one who searches the inner hearts of men and gives to everyone according to their works. Jezebel’s spiritual children are those who follow her in deception and idolatry. Jesus made a distinction here between Jezebel’s children and His own called-out-ones. Then Jesus said He would put no other burden upon the rest of them in Thyatira, “as many as have not this doctrine [teaching] and who have not known the deep things of Satan” (Revelation 2:18-29).
That there were those in the assembly of called-out-ones in Thyatira who did not know the deep things of Satan suggests that there were those in the assembly who did know. These were those who allowed themselves to be seduced by Jezebel to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols.
Jesus charged those who had not known these deep things of Satan to hold fast to what they had until He came. Why would He have told them to hold fast to what they had? Because that which they had could be easily taken from them by deception. This Jezebel spirit is very seductive and deceiving.
Jezebel was in the assembly of called-out-ones in Thyatira and had followers. She was teaching things that Jesus called “the deep things of Satan.” Nothing could be clearer. If these Things we call church are idolatrous extensions of self-worship (see Chapter 5) — flesh — then those who rule over them practice witchcraft (see Chapter 13 and Chapter 14) and are under the control of the spirits of witchcraft (see Chapter 16); and if under witchcraft, then they too are involved in the deep things of Satan. Revelation 2:8-9;3:7-9). Jesus could have been referring to some Judaizers who might have penetrated the ranks of the believers there, but it is more likely that He was referring to unconverted Jews who slandered the believers in these cities.
Jesus said those who falsely called themselves Jews were the synagogue of Satan. Just as believers are the temple of the Holy Spirit, they were the synagogue [gathering place] of Satan — not their buildings, beliefs, or activities. He said that they blasphemed by calling themselves Jews.
Paul taught that the true Jews are followers of Jesus. “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:28-29).
They were synagogues of Satan because they opposed and persecuted the followers Jesus. They had already determined in the synagogues that any man who confessed that Jesus was of Christ should be put out of the synagogue (John 9:22). So much stress was put on belonging to the synagogue that it was shameful to be put out of it. Guilt and shame were applied as a means of manipulating, controlling, dominating, and possessing the constituents of the synagogue, just as it is done in churches today. It is a hard saying, but whoever allows the flesh to rule rather than the Holy Spirit, they, too, are the synagogue of Satan. church system from its inception after the first century A.D. has been patterned after the synagogue system of the Jewish religion. The word synagogue literally means a bringing together. It was the place the Jews gathered to read and explain the sacred scriptures and pray, but it became more than a gathering place. It became both a building and an institution just as it is with church today. Some similarities between the synagogue and church systems are noted at the end of the book with personal comments. [ See endnote 23 below ]
The Pharisees (see Chapter 10) were an inseparable part of the synagogue system by the time of Jesus and were distinguished by their legalism; their lust for power, position, recognition, and dominance; their stiff-necked attitudes; their self-righteousness and hypocrisy; their self-seeking lifestyle; and their murderous intentions.
What are we to say of those clergy persons in present-day Christendom who are likewise legalistic; who lust for power, position, recognition, and dominance; who are stiff-necked, self-righteous, hypocritical, and self-seeking; and who have murderous intentions in their hearts? Might they be modern-day Pharisees in the churches!?
Make this connection with me. If the leaders of that Thing you are in that you call church have the marks of the Pharisees, they are in the flesh and seeking something for themselves. They are the synagogue of Satan. If you participate in, share in, and have your fellowship with them in that idolatrous system, it is most likely because the system is in your heart as well. If that is the case, you are the synagogue of Satan with them.
Satan has his synagogue and Jesus has His assembly of called-out-ones. We are the called-out-ones for assembly into Him. He formed a people. He is building His temple and it is made up of lively stones. We are to be joined only to Him. Bill Shipman observes, “If we are joined, submitted, committed, or covenanted to anyone or anything other than to the Lord Jesus Christ, we are committing spiritual adultery.”
Much of what Jesus taught was in contradiction to what the Pharisees stood for. He figuratively pointed a finger at the Pharisees, declaring to His disciples, “See them? What they say and do is not it. Look at Me! I am the way and the truth and the life.” We have patterned that which we call church after the synagogue system of men.
The true assembly of called-out-ones can never be patterned after a Thing. The bride of Christ can never be defined by systems, institutions, buildings, governmental orders, programs, formulas, creeds, doctrines, rituals, and litanies. The assembly of called-out-ones is a people who are patterned after the person, Jesus Christ. He alone is the governor and the government of the Kingdom of God (Isaiah 9:6).
When it comes to this Thing we call church, in most cases, Satan has positioned himself and his throne in the middle of it. We must see that! His deception is so great that we do not even know we may be serving him amidst our service to Christ. “For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). He is false light who is full of deception and deep darkness. This Thing we call church veils the eyes of those who remain a party to it. People are so deceived by this darkness that they have innocently become the dispensers of it. Church, in all of its darkness, is the counterfeit harlot to the true bride.
The harlot church system springs forth from those who have spiritual Babylon (see Chapter 6) in their hearts. This Babylon is the great whore that sits on many waters (Revelation 17). “Many waters” includes all peoples of all nations in all denominations and non-denominational churches who practice the harlotry of church. The harlot church system cannot be fixed. It can never be redeemed. It is flesh and all flesh is under the domain of Satan. God’s people — we who are called by His name and who do not allow ourselves to be called by any other name — must come out of Babylon. We are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, joined to Him only, baptized into His death, and raised in His resurrection. We are immersed in and led by His Holy Sprit. He alone is the Lord of our lives. We are submitted one to another in the spirit of humility and love.
Bob Hughey writes,
“God is looking for a people, not a place. His building program is made up of living stones, not concrete blocks, lumber, and nails. He is looking for and raising up a people of faith, not some theological meeting to come up with a statement of faith. He is not starting a new non-profit organization, He is bringing to life a living organism with true apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, and with everyone in the body a minister. He is not looking for a people known by their doctrine, pastor’s name, location, but is raising up a people known by their love for Him and for one another. He is not looking for a people bound by traditions, but is raising up a people free in Jesus and being led by His Holy Spirit.” (From the book A Lifestyle Of Light.)Harper’s Bible Dictionary and Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, s.v. “synagogue.” synagogue as an institution is not certain. Though synagogues are not specifically mentioned in the Old Testament, they came into existence sometime after Judah was taken into Babylonian captivity in the 6th century B.C. Babylon was a likely place for them to have begun.
By New Testament times, synagogues had become numerous and were playing a larger role in community life. They were social centers for Jewish activities and schools for their children. They might have been used as local courts and for scourging. At least Jesus predicted that they would do such things in their synagogues against those that He would send (Matthew 10:17;23:34).
As far as scriptural evidence goes, there is no mention of God instituting synagogues, just as Jesus did not institute church as we know of it today. Both the synagogue and church, for whatever good intentions they may serve, are still the institutions of men and the outgrowth of men’s traditions. Alexandria, Egypt, which is thought to date back to around 230 B.C. Jewish synagogues were well established throughout the Roman Empire and were in Jerusalem by the time of Jesus. The earliest type of architecture was the basilica. The basilica has a central nave (the main part) with a semicircular apse (a projection of the building), two or four side aisles, a narthex (vestibule or entry area), and a clerestory (high walls with windows over the nave). The Torah was placed in an ark (cabinet) on a platform where there were also lamps and a lectern.
Many churches are still patterned after the basilica style of architecture. The only buildings God commissioned were the Tabernacle of Moses which was a movable tent with articles in it and Solomon’s Temple (Exodus 25:8-9 and 1 Chronicles 28). Christians did not build their own places of worship until Emperor Constantine was converted around 325 A.D. and Christianized the entire Roman empire. Matthew 23:6. Referring to the scribes and Pharisees, He said that they loved the chief seats in the synagogues. Clergy still love the chief seats in their congregations. Those platform chairs are typically large, elaborate, and upholstered for royalty. A synagogue could not be formed unless there were at least ten Jewish men in the community. Jesus said that where two or more are gathered in His name, there He would be in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). The synagogues had a board of devoted and respected elders who regulated the policies of the synagogue. One or more men were elected by the elders to be the ruler(s) of the synagogue.
The rulers took care of the building and planned the services. A minister was in charge of the sacred scrolls, attended the lamps, kept the building clean, did the prescribed scourging, and taught the children during the week. The ruler appointed a delegate of the congregation to read the Scripture lesson, to lead in prayer, and to preach or comment on the scripture. The Torah was written in ancient Hebrew so an interpreter was often needed. Two or three almoners (one who distributes charity) took up money or other necessities for the poor.
The fact that Jesus habitually went to the synagogue, read from the scroll, and taught is not an endorsement of the synagogue system. Luke 4:16-30 records that Jesus was even driven out of the synagogue. In Matthew 10:17 and 13:54, Jesus and Matthew referred to them as their synagogues.
Different traditions of Christian churches have variations of these officers. In the Presbyterian system, the board of elders rule along with the pastors. They are equivalent to the minister in the synagogue. Deacons or ushers are selected to receive and count the offerings. They are the equivalent to the almoners. The ruling officers may be called deacons as in the Baptist tradition or may be priests as in the Episcopal tradition.
Paul recognized that God gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some shepherds (who are the elder-overseers), and some teachers. The King James Version used the term “office” when it generally should have been translated service (Romans 11:13,12:4; 1 Timothy 3:1,3:10,3:13). The idea of ministry being an office or position is foreign to New Testament thought. It is not a New Testament term or distinction. These are functions — acts of servanthood — in the body of Christ. No such “positions” exist in the Kingdom of God, only in the kingdoms of men. Shema — the passage in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. The speaker for the day led in prayer — facing Jerusalem with hands extended — after which the people said, “Amen.” He stood up to read the lesson for the day and sat down to sermonize upon it (Luke 4:20).
Afterwards, if a priest were present, he would pronounce the benediction to which the people said, “Amen.” If no priest were present, someone offered a closing prayer. The scriptures are still read and sermons are still preached in the churches today much as they were in the synagogues, following prescribed lectionaries for the week.
This format is in stark contradiction to the spirit-led, believer’s meeting which the New Testament followers had, going from house to house. The Corinthians’ meeting are pictured in 1 Corinthians 14:26: “How is it then, brothers? When you come together, everyone of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation...”
New Testament assemblies were characterized by the existence of the equipping gift ministries of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors (elders) and teachers; by the plurality of elders; by the operation of all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; and by mutual recognition of one another’s contribution to the body of Christ. Jesus said the Father was seeking those who would worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24), not according to a bulletin or dead ritual.
I am convinced beyond doubt that if Jesus were to walk into most of the churches today, He would be treated much the same as He was in the synagogues in His day. The difference between what He called us to and what we have in church today is striking.
This article is 48th a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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