Not Just a Church
By Gerald Flurry • June 3
An 18-year-old psychopath shot and killed 19 children and two adults on May 24 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. That same day, a career criminal murdered a businessman on the subway in New York City. What is happening in America?
“Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence” (Ezekiel 7:23). Ezekiel is an end-time book. God warned us that He would punish the modern descendants of ancient Israel, which includes America and Britain. (Request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy for proof.) He wants people to heed the warning to avoid these terrible problems.
“And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I am the Lord. … And they shall know that I am the Lord …. [A]nd they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 6:7, 10, 14). Clearly, our nations don’t know God. But He says the violence we’re suffering will show them who He is! They will get to know God.
God tells us the solution to all this violence. He offers the only solution.
The Power of Prayer
The original apostles thought they were living in the end time 2,000 years ago. Actually, their writings are for our day.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). God gives us a living hope in these dangerous times.
“Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (verse 5). Peter and most of the apostles were martyred before the a.d. 70 holocaust in Jerusalem. They saw this massacre coming, and they thought they were living in the end time.
How did the apostles stay strong? “The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7; Revised Standard Version). Peter goes on to show the result of this lifestyle: unspeakable joy! (verse 13). We need God’s Holy Spirit to even understand this level of joy.
God wants to keep us stable and focused on our prayers. He says the “effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). This type of prayer will bring all kinds of wonderful blessings into your life!
“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:1-2). We have to grow up spiritually. Salvation is education!
‘That Living Stone’
Peter gives this instruction in the context of the temple. Members of God’s true Church today comprise the spiritual temple. Despite teaching about the Church throughout this passage, Peter never uses the word “church.” He is showing that we are more than a church!
Peter talks about “living stones” led by “that living stone,” Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-5). Christ’s Bride-to-be is made up of little stones, just pebbles compared to Him. Nevertheless, Christ is making them His Bride. He is turning puny humans into spirit beings who will share David’s throne with Him as His Bride.
Christ said, “… I will build my church; and the gates of hell [hades, meaning ‘the grave’] shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Where is God’s Church today, the little flock that will survive all the way to Jesus Christ’s Second Coming?
Peter knew there were false churches. God’s Church went through a lot of persecution. Some of the brethren turned away from God. Peter had to warn the brethren, so he wrote about “that living stone.” Christ lives! He leads His Church! It is not some man’s church, though Christ does use a man to represent Him.
This is about a spiritual temple, something we must build. Anciently, the temple was built physically; it was a literal building. Today, we build the temple spiritually.
Peter explains how God’s people differ from other churches. He says, We have a Rock, a great Stone to look to. Build on that, and you will become a living stone. There’s a living Stone and living stones!
God’s spiritual temple lives. Our hope lives. We are called a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5). What a great honor!
Jesus Christ, our Rock, is alive today. What is He doing? He is not watching over our nations the way we would like. Who wants to witness the slaughter of young children?
All of this is about to change. Christ will soon regenerate all mankind. He will return to Earth, bringing with Him a new world and a fresh start. This should give us unspeakable joy!
We must believe in this future: “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded [put to shame]” (verse 6).
People talk about Jesus all the time, but do they believe what He says in the Bible—in both the Old and New Testaments?
A holy priesthood is preparing to rule the world with Jesus Christ. They are the firstfruits, called out of the world now before Christ’s return. For the past 6,000 years, God has called them.
“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious …” (verse 7). Those who believe know that Christ is precious. So is the Father. Yet God’s own lukewarm Church does not honor their Father (Malachi 1:6). (To learn about the end-time Church rebellion, request my free book Malachi’s Message, the little book described in Revelation 10.)
Christ, the Stone, causes most people to stumble (1 Peter 2:8). They will not believe His words.
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). God has made His firstfruits kings and priests in embryo! (Revelation 1:6). A holy nation will be here ready when Christ returns.
God’s people declare this message today as a witness to all mankind! He will not force the truth on anyone, but He certainly does get a witness out there through books, booklets, publications, television, radio and websites.
God has chosen the firstfruits. “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? … This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise” (Isaiah 43:18-19, 21). God is building a new civilization! The living Stone leads His Church all the way. Are you going to just “not know it?” That’s the way it is with most people.
This is not just a church. It is a holy nation. Living hope, unspeakable joy and a powerful warning message—these are unique to God’s Church. We should hear God’s Word and tremble (Isaiah 66:5).
God is about to show us what it means to be born again: “Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God” (verses 7-9).
God tries and tests His Church so we will be prepared to rule with Him very shortly. Children will be born into the God Family—at Christ’s return (not before), starting with the Church, and then including all mankind. (Request our free booklet Just What Do You Mean … Born Again? for the little-understood truth about this subject.) Would God really bring us to the brink of birth into His Family and not follow through? He will bring us forth if we are loyal to Him. Our future is to rule over the Earth and the universe for all eternity!
This is the way of truth! (John 17:17). Stand up and be counted for truth—the real truth. God’s people speak the truth!
Don’t deceive yourself. Don’t be a hypocrite. Satan is the father of liars (John 8:44), and there are plenty of liars out there. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1).
Some of God’s own people have denied their Master, who purchased them with His own life. He was beaten and marred severely, more than any man, before being crucified—all to pay for our sins and give us a chance to be born into His Family. This is the potential of every human who has ever lived. There is living hope in the resurrection. It is how Christ will regenerate all mankind, with the help of the firstfruits.
Peter never used the word “church” because he wanted God’s people to see what the Church of God really is: the start of a new world, the only solution to all world problems. Heed his warning to be part of the solution.Read More