Decades ago upon Christ Jesus coming into my heart I was quickly gathered up by the "Church System" where myself and my family entered into a world of dead works which produced in us a subtle self righteousness. After a dozen years of serving this system my relationship with my wife was a wreck and there were two young children suffering the ill effects of a family too busy and fractured in service to a demonic entity. Some would say, "Jack, "demonic" is too strong a word." I can only reply that after viewing and studying the church system for thirty five years, "demonic" is not strong enough and if I knew a stronger word I would use it in reference to that which we today know as "Church."
The Harlot Church System "Come Out Of Her, My People"
by Charles E. Newbold, Jr.
"The trumpet of the Lord is sounding an alarm to God's holy remnant to 'come out of her My people, that you be not partakers of her sins and that you receive not of her plagues.'" Revelation 18:4
We often sang scripture songs about Zion. I was a new convert then, gathering with a room full of very Spirit-sensitive believers. Those songs always struck a chord of joy in my heart, but I didn't know why. "Do you know what Zion is?" I asked one of the sisters.
"Yes." She meekly answered.
"Would you explain it to me?" I eagerly asked.
"You'll discover it in time."
"That's it!? You know the answer, but I'll have to wait to discover it myself?" Having no other choice, I waited.
Some years later I came to understand that Zion is a symbolic place in the spirit where Jesus is the only thing there is. He alone takes preeminence.
Then, I came to understand that Babylon meant something as well, that it stood in contrast to Zion. Symbolically, Babylon is all that the carnal (fleshly) mind devises in the exaltation of Self--the preeminence of Self over God. It is a place in us where we think we are IT. We exalt our imaginations and every high thing above the knowledge of God. 2 Cor. 10:5.
Both Zion and Babylon were historical places, yet the scriptures also speak of them as spiritual states of being. Hebrews 12:22 speaks of Zion (Sion, in KJV) in this figurative sense: "But we are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect." 1 Peter 2:6 reads, "Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he who believes on Him shall not be confounded." This Zion is Jesus.
Revelation 14:8 is a good example of how Babylon has been used in this figurative sense: "And there followed another angel, saying, 'Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.'" Most notable is Revelation 17:5 which identifies the mother of harlots as Babylon: "Upon her forehead was a name written, "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."
Both Zion and Babylon mirror the condition of our hearts.
Symbolic Babylon is that attitude of the heart that makes us think we can solve all of our problems and meet all of our needs without God. We look to government, politics, science, technology, psychology, sociology, economics, entertainment, and religion for our help--things mankind has invented. Therefore, we look to ourselves to save ourselves.
In this book, however, my reference to spiritual Babylon is limited to the institutionalized, organized, religious church systems which I contend are products of the carnal mind. Please read on to see what I mean by this.
(The word church and the pronoun it when used in italics in this book refers to this Thing we call church. When it is not in italics, I am referring to buildings that have been dedicated to the worship of a deity, or I am directly quoting other sources.)
SPIRIT AND FLESH
In order to understand these two "spiritual states of being"--that is, Zion and Babylon--we must understand the difference between Spirit and flesh.
In the context of this book, the difference between the body of Christ and this Thing we call church is that difference between Spirit and flesh--what is of the Spirit of God and what is of our old man nature of flesh and sin, even the carnal mind.
Zion represents the Spirit; Babylon represents the flesh. The body of Christ needs very much to discern between what is Spirit and what is flesh, for that which is of the flesh is an enemy to the Spirit. True believers in Christ have been given the power of the Spirit to live a life separated from the flesh. This separation is what we call sanctification.
The word flesh is used in both the Old and the New Testament in reference to the natural, physical existence of all mankind such as we see it used in Matthew 24:22: "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened."
Flesh has also been used in reference to an individual's human body. After His resurrection and before His ascension, Jesus appeared to His followers and said, "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." Luke 24:39.
However, the kind of flesh written about in this book is in reference to that fallen nature of sin within all mankind that came about when Adam rebelled in the garden. Paul wrote regarding this, "Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery [which is witchcraft], hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Gal. 5:19-21. Flesh is capable of committing the most vile evils without conscience even while having an awareness of what is good and evil. Such occurred in the days of Noah. Gen. 6:5-7. These practices are not the deeds of the physical body, but of that fallen sin nature that resides in us.
Paul had already established in Galatians 5:17 that "the flesh lusts [sets its desire] against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish." Romans 8:7 attests that "the carnal mind is at enmity [hostile] against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be."
The carnal mind and the Spirit of God speak languages that are foreign and unknown to each other. The carnal (fleshly) mind cannot speak Spirit and the Spirit of God cannot speak flesh. The carnal mind has no ability whatsoever to understand the things of God which are Spirit. 1 Cor. 2:12-14. When inspired things of God are reduced to rigid doctrines, systems of theology, reasoning and logic, they are no longer Spirit but have become flesh. And if flesh, then deception. The carnal mind is at total odds with the Spirit of God; it is hostile to God.
THE DEATH SENTENCE
The sentence of death has been pronounced over the flesh. The flesh nature of man is separated from God who is life; therefore, the flesh is dead and all that comes from the carnal mind is death.
Nevertheless, flesh has a life of its own. It is earthly, sensual, self-centered, and at war with God. Its life is born out of the seed of death. It has an inherent drive to preserve itself at all cost. It fears annihilation. Yet, it cannot save itself because it is destined to self-destruction. The flesh nature rules a person until the life of God in Christ is planted within his spirit, at which time the old seed of flesh and sin is understood to be what it already is--dead. Unfortunately, even after we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and while we remain in this life, we carry about both seeds: the seed of flesh and death, and the seed of Spirit and life.
THE HARLOT OF SELF
The flesh loves Self. Self with the capital "S" is the term I use throughout this book to refer to that the self-centered, self-indulging, self-absorbed, self-willed, self-serving nature of fallen flesh. The flesh nature of Self turns in on itself. It is selfish, prideful, arrogant, haughty, vain, narcissistic, manipulative, controlling, dominating, impatient, stubborn, insensitive, resentful, angry, unteachable, rebellious, fearful, anxious, complaining, disagreeable, judgmental, negative, critical, cynical, indifferent, greedy, lustful, sensual, envious, covetous, jealous, fault-finding, dishonest, and deceitful. It is deceived and suffers from delusions of grandeur. It always asks, "What's in it for me?"
The harlot, broadly defined, is anything for Self. I refer to these Things we call church as the harlot church system because they have been created out of our fleshly minds and desires for Self. Churches as we experience them today have no basis in scripture. They are icons of self-worship. Moreover, they are idolatrous, deceptive, and dangerous.
A TROUBLING MESSAGE
I will hit hard on the idolatry of the church system as we know it and experience it today. If you are not prepared to hear this message by the Spirit, you will no doubt take serious offense to it. The message of this book will be troubling to many of you who are victims of the church system, but will be most troubling to those of you who depend upon the church system for your livelihood and who find your significance, identity, validation, recognition, power, and security in it.
If you choose to continue reading this book, it will take you where you may think you do not want to go. You will journey beyond the facade of that Thing we call church and see how it is an invention of flesh. You will discover the demons that empower it. If you go the distance, you will hopefully find, with Abraham, that "city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is the Lord." Heb. 11:10. You will "come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn, who are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirit of just men made perfect." Heb. 12:22-23.
ZION AND BABYLON
Before I plunge forward into exposing the idolatry of this harlot system, I want to abbreviate some comparisons between spiritual Zion, where Jesus is the only thing there is, and spiritual Babylon (the harlot), where the carnal mind of Self exalts itself, in order to provide a better point of reference for what follows. Many of the thoughts below are developed further throughout this book.
Zion refers to the true body of Christ, the bride, the ekklesia; Babylon refers to the false church system of men's traditions and religions. (Ekklesia is the Greek word in the New Testament which has been mis-translated "church" in most English versions, but it literally means "called-out-ones".)
Zion is a people--the people of God; Babylon is a Thing--church institutions and systems.
Zion is a living organism; Babylon is characterized by organizations, institutions, and systems.
Zion consists of people who have been born into it; Babylon consists of people who have joined it or been voted into it.
Zion is a people who are called by the name of Jesus; Babylon is a people who are called by many different names that represent divisions within this Babylonian church system: Baptist, Catholic, Charismatic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, and all the rest.
Zion is Jesus-centered; Babylon is self-centered.
Zion is living by the Spirit; Babylon is living after the flesh.
Zion is heavenly; Babylon is earthly.
Zion is grace; Babylon is law.
Zion is life; Babylon is death.
Zion is being; Babylon is doing.
Zion is rest; Babylon is works.
Zion is light; Babylon is darkness.
Zion is humility; Babylon is full of pride, arrogance, and haughtiness.
Zion is liberty in Christ; Babylon is bondage to the flesh.
Zion is the Kingdom of God; Babylon is the kingdoms of men.
Zion has Jesus Christ as her head; Babylon has elected or appointed men as their heads.
Zion is a Spirit-led people; Babylon is led by rules and regulations of man's own making.
Zion is Spirit-sensitive; Babylon is man-pleasing.
Zion is obedience to the Holy Spirit; Babylon is busy church work.
Zion accomplishes things in Holy Spirit power (Zech. 4:6); Babylon tries to accomplish things in self-strength.
Zion has its authority in the Word of God; Babylon places its authority in man-made doctrines.
Zion is one body in Christ Jesus as Lord; Babylon is sectarian and divisive, consisting of many divisions of people.
Zion worships in spirit and in truth; Babylon programs praise.
Zion preaches Christ and Him crucified; Babylon proclaims denominations, doctrines, heritage, traditions, creeds, personal views and opinions.
Zion is the priesthood of all believers; Babylon is the clergy system. The clergy are those who want to make a difference between themselves and others.
Zion answers to God as the highest authority; Babylon answers to men and their institutions as the authority.
Zion calls forth revelation; Babylon depends upon imagination.
Zion conforms people into the image of Jesus; Babylon conforms people into its own image.
Zion decreases that Christ may increase; Babylon increases itself in power, position, riches, and domination.
Zion counts the cost; Babylon counts the money.
Zion lays down its life; Babylon preserves and protects itself.
Zion waits upon God to raise up what God wants in His timing; Babylon schemes, organizes, and promotes to execute its own plan in its own way and time.
Zion seeks the Lord with a whole heart to be possessed by Him; Babylon goes after things and people to possess them.
Zion is the city of God; Babylon seeks to build a city, a tower, and a name for itself. Gen. 11:4.
Zion longs to be gathered into Jesus; Babylon passionately seeks to gather people unto itself.
To be a disciple of Jesus Christ one must be willing to deny Self, take up his cross, and follow Jesus. Luke 9:23. Self-denial is the cross we bear. The old man of flesh and sin has to be rendered dead. The laid-down life defines the New Testament concept of agape (love).
When we live according to the flesh, we are living for Self. Conversely, when we are living for Self, we are living according to the flesh. When we live according the Spirit, we will bear the fruit of agape. We have not been called to live unto ourselves. We have been called to surrender our lives to Christ that He might live His life of agape through us. We cannot be the bride of Christ and at the same time live selfishly in this world. We are either the bride or we are living the life of the harlot.
Self-centered living is making ourselves out to be god; therefore, it is idolatry. I will show in a subsequent chapter that idolatry is spiritual harlotry. I will also show how this Thing we call church is an idolatrous extension of ourselves--thus, spiritual harlotry.
We become spiritual prostitutes when we create something and give our hearts to it rather than to the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what men have done with this Thing we call church. They have made church a substitute for Jesus. Many within these harlot church systems are true believers who love the Lord, but are uninformed and deceived. They have unintentionally given their hearts to these Things we call church. God loves us all but hates our idolatries.
Judge the words in this book for yourself and judge yourself by these words. Open your heart to the Holy Spirit that He might instruct you and point you to Jesus. I hope to reveal Father-God's heart to you that your heart may be revealed to you; that you may dare face your idolatries, cleanse His temple of whom you and I are, and return to the God of your salvation. The idolatry revealed in this book is not about "them" but about each of us.