Establishing Other Training Centers. Ultimately, if the house church concept proliferates, we need to be prepared to establish other training centers in different areas. These regional centers can be built around existing and known churches and leaders in the area who have come to accept the concept, including doctrines, spiritual authority and policies established by the central headquarters. In other words, we do not need to construct new buildings. We can use existing church partners and their facilities. In fact, if we gain partners in other areas, we can train them and let them train others.
These outlying centers must work very closely with the central training center and the central training center must be willing to send out representatives to teach and train leaders in the various regional training centers. These workers must be willing to spend weeks and perhaps months in outlying areas in order to launch training centers all over the country. Because of the dire need for more workers, we need to recruit outside pastors.
Turn over all ministry to the house churches. Let your church staff gradually fit into their positions as trainers of house church pastors. Each house church should be autonomous in terms of ministering to its members. However, each house church must be in constant contact and relationship with each other. Local pastors are responsible for their own members; subject, however, to monitoring and guiding through the central training center and visiting five-fold ministers.
2. Other Considerations
There are other considerations that run parallel to and perhaps repeat some of the above:
1. Bibles, tracts, study outlines, books, newsletters should be prepared.
2. Training courses should be created and prepared. Teachers must be trained to provide the training.
3. Equipment that will aid in the proliferation of written materials should be purchased, such as printing and copying machines, stocks of paper, binding materials, etc.
4. Various books on specific subjects should be collected and disseminated. Such books as some of Watchman Nee’s books on The Normal Christian Life and Spiritual Authority should be mandatory reading.
5. Due to the shortness of time in which to train new converts, an effort should be made to condense many teaching outlines.
6. Have the leaders pray together and ask God to begin to purify and consecrate the leadership group in preparation for greater service and even five-fold ministry. When we see the power that was given to the apostles in the Book of Acts start returning, we will know that the time is ripe for revival/harvest and all that will follow. Rev. 11:3.
7. Ultimately, we should be able to step back and the house church system or structure will continue on without further change or input from us. It should be self-perpetuating and in complete control of the Holy Spirit.
8. In America, there are strict zoning and land use requirements. Some cities do not allow churches in residential areas unless there is ample parking and setbacks from the main street. In Hawaii, for example, you cannot have a church building less than 120 feet from the main road. To avoid legal and neighborhood problems, services should be avoid unnecessary confrontations with neighbors by parking away from the house being used. That is also one reason why the members of a house church should come from the immediately neighborhood. The best is to recruit all the adjacent neighbors.
God wants His Church back. Ever since 325 A.D., it has been twisted, distorted, bent out of shape and invaded by the Devil. Martin Luther started the church back to its true condition in terms of some basic beliefs and doctrines, but the work was incomplete. Almost all Protestant churches, including Pentecostal/Charismatic churches still carry a bastardized form of church structure, conceived by the devil and fed by the carnal minds of men who desire to control and manipulate the saints in order to build their own kingdoms.
What God endeavored to do was take us away from the archaic temple system of the Old Testament and give us a church that would allow the Holy Spirit to move mightily in the life of every saint. In effect, the body of Christ was to have only one head and an elite priesthood was not necessary. He has made all Christians kings and priests. Rev. 1:6; Rev. 5:10. To bring that forth, the Holy Spirit put it in the hearts of the fathers of the first century church to form small house groups. These house churches allowed everyone to participate and be touched by the Spirit. Anyone with a love for God and the brethren and who knew how to flow with the Holy Spirit could be a pastor. No one could hide in a crowd. The saints forged close relationships and no one could be an island by himself. The leaders who owned homes were required to serve those who came to their house to worship. The Lord’s supper was not just crackers and juice; it was a full-course dinner and the saints would go from house to house to break bread. Each would bring his/her own food if possible. This implies a closeness of the members. One week it would be held at one house and the next week at another house or even on a daily basis. Hospitality was a must. There was no need for copious amounts of money to build a large sanctuary. When the group became too large for the house to accommodate everybody, another house group would be formed. The original house group would then continue to find new members and the new house church would do likewise. New leaders would be trained continuously with the idea that each qualified trainee would eventually be the overseer of his or her own group. Worldwide evangelism was the focus of each house church and was made possible by the simple house church format. There was no educational requirement and no Bible colleges or theological seminaries to attend. In a house church format, no college degrees are necessary and there is no elite priesthood. Anyone with love for God, a relationship with Jesus, knowledge of the Bible and compassion for people can be a pastor.
In our public schools we insist that there be no more than twenty students for one teacher and an assistant. We know that good education and training allow no more than twenty in a class. The same thing is true with churches. Any group bigger than twenty or so will bring less favorable results. With the need to quickly train new converts within a short period of time, small house groups would be optimal. God already knew that.
God also knew that persecution would come sooner or later and house churches would be best suited to provide the closeness and trust each member must have in the others. Small groups require that every member contribute time and effort to the group and a servant’s heart could grow in a small group setting.
Even in the U.S. military, the leaders are beginning to recognize that smaller, faster mobile units that are able to strike and respond to any situation quickly, would be more efficient and powerful than a large and cumbersome group of soldiers dependent on big and constant supply sources, complex lines of communication and large pieces of equipment to transport entire battalions.
We need to give God back His original church.
The following attachments have been added in order to expand on certain topics alluded above:
ATTACHMENT A - PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE DOCTRINE DEBUNKED
ATTACHMENT B - WHO IS LUCIFER?
ATTACHMENT C - CHRISTMAS AND EASTER - BABYLONIAN PRACTICES
ATTACHMENT D - DELIVERANCE AND INNER HEALING
ATTACHMENT E - APOSTACY - STATE OF THE CHURCH TODAY
ATTACHMENT F - FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
ATTACHMENT G - CHURCH LEADERSHIP
ATTACHMENT H - REVIVAL AND PERSECUTION
ATTACHMENT I - THE NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE
ATTACHMENT J - SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY
ATTACHMENT K - DIPLOMAS/CERTIFICATES
ATTACHMENT L - STATEMENT OF FAITH
ATTACHMENT M - TRAINING CENTERS AND OTHER THINGS
ATTACHMENT N - OPEN FORMAT FOR MEETINGS AND SERVICES
ATTACHMENT O - THE FALSE VERSUS THE TRUE GOSPEL OF SALVATION
PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE DOCTRINE
There is no doubt that Jesus will return to earth in a second coming at the end of the age. I Thessalonians 4:16-17 says:
For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
I Corinthians 15:52 says, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Every “rapture” doctrine hangs on these two passages.
These two scriptures, however, say nothing about when Jesus will return.
HISTORY OF THE RAPTURE DOCTRINE
The idea that Jesus will return before tribulation was derived from a vision given to Margaret MacDonald in 1830. It was a complex vision and some individuals (notably John Darby, who was excommunicated for his position) promoted the idea that the vision means that the Lord would take His people out of the world to escape tribulation. It is not a doctrine of the early church. The word “rapture” is not found in the Bible, but is immaterial. Is it true that Jesus will return to take His people out of the world before tribulation?
Hermeneutics is the science or art of interpretation, and in this case, the Bible. There are at least several accepted methods: Literal, conservative, allegorical, etc. However, we do not need to explore any of these if we can agree to the following:
1. A direct scripture is one intended by the writer to answer the particular issue or question at hand. It is the strongest evidence and inviolate unless there is another direct scripture that contradicts it.
2. An indirect scripture is one that is not intended by the writer to answer that particular question. No indirect scripture can overturn or neutralize a direct scripture. It is “out of context” because it was not intended to answer the question at hand, and therefore, inapplicable.
The same rule is used in every court of law in order to determine truth. No direct evidence can be overturned by indirect or circumstantial evidence. For instance, if a witness at the scene of a murder saw A shoot B, no testimony that A was a good guy or gentle or kind or that A couldn’t hurt a fly can overturn the direct testimony. It doesn’t apply. Scriptures do not apply if they do not specifically address the question being asked, or was not intended to. In law, it is known as mere “dictum” and not applicable to the question being asked.
There are at least three direct scriptures and one close to being direct, that say that Jesus is coming after tribulation. Matthew 24:29-31 says,
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Underlining added)
Matthew 13:39 (parable of the wheat and tares) says, “...the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.” The gathering of His elect comes after tribulation. We are aware that some writers make a distinction between the Day of the Lord and the period after the “Great Tribulation,” and so forth. Since we are merely establishing the truth that Jesus will not return before tribulation starts, we will not be concerned with what happens after tribulation aside from His return.
Mark 13:24-27 says,
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall He send His angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the heaven. (Underlining added)
Luke 23:25-27 says,
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Underlining added)
These are direct scriptures were intended to tell us when Jesus will return - after tribulation. The powers of heaven shall be shaken after the tribulation according to Matthew 24:29 and Mark 13:24.
There is one other passage which directly implies that Jesus will return after the tribulation. Revelation 20:4 says,
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Underlining added)
John saw those who had been beheaded by Satan’s beast during tribulation. They had come back to life and were sitting on thrones. Verse 5 then says, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” (Underlining added)
We know that when Jesus comes back the graves will be opened “... and the dead in Christ will rise first....” I Thessalonians 4:16. If the resurrection of the martyrs who died during tribulation is the first resurrection, then Jesus could not come back before tribulation because the martyrs in Revelation 20 would not have been killed yet.
All the above scriptures were intended to answer the question: When will Jesus come back? Therefore, they are relevant, material and direct. Unless there are direct scriptures that say, “Before the tribulation, shall the Son of man appear in the clouds....,” the above scriptures cannot be overturned. No logic, reasons or implications can overrule those scriptures.
We have found absolutely no direct scriptures that say that Jesus is coming back before tribulation.
OTHER DIRECT SCRIPTURES
There are other scriptures that speak of the time when the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth. Although direct scriptures, they do not refer specifically to tribulation; that is, before or after tribulation. But, they do address the question of when Jesus will come from heaven back to earth. Those scriptures all say that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven where He will reign until all His enemies are made His footstool (destroyed). Then He will return. Hebrews 10:12,13 says, “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting til His enemies be made His footstool.” The Amplified Bible puts it this way, “...Then to wait until His enemies should be made a stool beneath His feet.” Jesus will sit at the right hand of the Father in heaven until all His enemies are destroyed. I Corinthians 15:25,26 says, “For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” See also, Ac. 2:34; Heb. 1:13; Mt. 22:44; Lk. 20:42 and Mk. 12:36. The reference to “footstool” refers to the custom of placing one’s feet on the necks of your defeated foes to signify victory over them. Jos. 10:24.
Jesus will not return until His people on earth have conquered Satan’s demonic kingdom - the enemies of Jesus and His people. It is not to say that Satan’s kingdom must be totally annihilated first, but that there is a people of God that will grow into such spiritual maturity that they are able to and will destroy Satan’s kingdom. Revelation 19:14-21 speaks of Jesus coming back with His armies to destroy all evil on earth. This includes the man-child army that stands with Jesus on Mount Sion, a people redeemed from the earth and made perfect in the sight of God. Rev. 12:5; Rev. 14:1-5. They will return with Jesus to destroy all evil.
There is an argument regarding whether or not these armies will come and destroy all evil before Jesus comes down from the clouds and whether the Day of the Lord is more than one literal day. However, we will restrict our discussion to the question of whether Jesus will return before tribulation.
DANGER OF THE NEW DOCTRINE
The danger of the pre-tribulation rapture theory is that the church will be unprepared for tribulation. Why prepare all-out for a race that will never take place? That is exactly what Satan wants. People who say, “Well, we will just be prepared in either case. If Jesus does not come back before tribulation, we will be ready any way,” are kidding themselves. When I was taking martial arts in my youth, we always talked about being prepared for challenges from outsiders. But only when someone did, in fact, issue a challenge to me did I actually prepare with all my heart. At all other times, I was just cruising, not really believing that it would happen.
Many Christians say that pre-tribulation rapture is the hope of the Church. That’s not true. Christ in you is the hope of glory. Col. 1:27.
THE NEED TO PREPARE FOR TRIBULATION
If the church must go through tribulation we must be prepared. Only the spiritually mature are likely to make it through until Jesus returns. Most will fall. 2 Th. 2:3.
WHO IS LUCIFER?
“Lucifer” found in the King James Version and Living Bible (which is based on the King James Version), is a Latin word mistakenly left in when the Latin was translated into English. Therefore, “Lucifer” is nobody’s name, especially not Satan’s. The original word “lucifer” is translated in the Latin to mean “morning star”. See NIV. The Amplified Bible uses “light-bringer and day star”. The footnote to Isaiah 14:12 contained in The Amplified Bible says:
n. The Hebrew for this expression- “light-bringer” or “shining one” - is translated “Lucifer” in The Latin Vulgate, and is thus translated in the King James Version. But because of the association of that name with Satan, it is not now used in this and other translations. Some students feel that the application of the name Lucifer to Satan, in spite of the long and confident teaching to that effect, is erroneous. The application of the name to Satan has existed since the third century A.D., and is based on the supposition that Luke 10:18 is an explanation of Isa. 14:12, which many authorities believe is not true. “Lucifer,” the light-bringer, is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word “Phosphoros,” which is used as a title of Christ in II Pet. 1:19 and corresponds to the name “radiant and brilliant Morning Star” in Rev. 22:16, a name Jesus called Himself. This passage here in Isa. 14:13 clearly applies to the king of Babylon.
The idea that Satan was once an archangel second only to God, who rebelled and was thrown out of heaven is erroneous. Only two scriptures in the entire Bible use the word “archangel.” (1) I Thessalonians 4:16 says that Jesus will return to earth “... with the voice of the archangel.” (2) Jude 9 says, “Yet Michael the archangel,....” Nowhere in the Bible is Satan called an archangel. Satan was never an archangel. God never made a mistake!
The only reference of a war in heaven and Satan being thrown down to earth is in Rev. 12:7-9. But, Revelation is about the end times - about things to come at the end of the age. The entire book of Revelation is a prophecy. Verse 3. If Satan was thrown out of heaven before Adam and Eve were created, those scriptures would be out of place. The truth is - Satan has not yet been cast down to earth! That’s why Paul called him the “... prince of the power of the air.” Eph. 2:2. He still rules from the atmosphere around the earth (the “mid-heavens”) and he still has access to the throne of God in the Third Heaven.
Job 1: 6 says, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” The Lord and Satan engaged in conversation. Once again in Job l2:1, “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.”
Even today, Satan goes before the throne of God to accuse us “before our God day and night.” Rev, 12:10. That’s why he is called the “accuser” of the brethren. If Satan had been cast out before Adam and Eve were created, there would have been no brethren to accuse and he would not be in heaven talking to God about Job. Job would not have existed yet .
In Luke 22:31, Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat....” NIV. In The Amplified Bible, the passage reads, “Simon. Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain.” Who would Satan be asking? God, of course! Satan still has access to the throne of God to accuse and petition to have us. He hasn’t been kicked out of heaven yet! But he will soon!
When Jesus sent the seventy disciples out two by two, they came back “with joy, saying Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.“ Lk. 10:18. When Jesus said in Luke 10:19, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven,” He was talking about a prophetic vision He had of Satan falling in the future. Whenever someone tells of a vision he had, he doesn’t say, “I am seeing,” or “I will see.” He says, “I saw” or “I beheld.” For the first time, mankind had the power to cast out devils. Therefore, Jesus prophesied that one day Satan was going to be thrown out of the heavens, never to rule again.
Isaiah 14:12 talks about the First Adam before he fell, not Satan. Verse 16 says, “... Is this the man that made the earth to tremble....” Satan was never a man. He is spirit. Verse 11 says, “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.” Verse 19 says, “But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain....” Satan has never died and was never buried in a grave and worms never ate his flesh. It was Adam who died and was eaten of worms in a grave. It was Adam who wanted to be God, who said, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God... I will be like the most High.” Is. 14:13,14. Adam was once a morning star. When he sinned against God, he lost the morning star, his spirit light went out and he saw his flesh for the first time. Gen. 3:7.
Adam was no fool. He was not deceived by the serpent. 1 Timothy 2:14 says, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” What does it mean? It means that Adam had already formed the desire to be like God, but he had no guts or courage to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He didn’t need to be beguiled. He already was. When he heard the serpent beguiling Eve, he stood by mute. He was an opportunist. He probably reasoned, “If we get caught, I can always blame Eve.” That’s exactly what Adam did. When God questioned him, he answered, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat.” First, he blamed God; then, he blamed Eve. Gen. 3:12. That’s how many men are today. They pass the buck and refuse to take responsibility for their actions. Both Is. 14 and Eze. 28 speak of Adam, not Satan.