On the Wearing of False Names
(From: Meharry H. Lewis, Mary Lena Lewis Tate: V I S I O N !, Nashville: The New and Living Way Publishing Company, 2005, pp. 164-170)
"Is the name of the Post-Messianic Church found in the Bible?"
Yes. The complete statement is found in the Apostle Paul's letter to his protege, Timotheus, in I Timothy 3:15.
Wearing of False Names.--There is only one true name for the Post-Messianic House of God. This name must needs be important because so often it is spoken of in the Holy Scriptures. What is there in a name? In the Way of Christianity it is of ultra importance to identify oneself with the true and Living God (God Himself!, Revelation 21:3). We are told in Revelation 14:1 that John saw a Lamb which stood on the mount Zion and with Him there were an hundred and forty thousand having His Father's name written in their foreheads.Then, those who are fortunate enough to survive the tests and tribulations and to see His face, all shall have His name written in their foreheads (Revelation 22:4).
The Post-Messianic, or "latter-day", Church (capital C) is styled as Christ's Bride. As He declared to the Church at Pergamos (Revelation 2:13), the Son of God would have us hold fast His name also. A husband who takes a wife wants her to put aside any other name and to adorn his name as her legal name and to conduct all of her business and affairs in that name. Even so, God's Son wants His Bride, the Church, to wear His name also. The Post-Messianic, or latter-day, Church is married through Christ to the Triune God (the God-Head) and He to us (Jeremiah 3:14-18). The individuals who make up the Church should not wear the name of anyone, anything, or any ideal, but they should wear the only name that was given to us to wear. That name which shall be required of all who would inherit eternal life.
What, Then, Shall the Bride of Our Lord Be Called?--Apparently the Church should be named after Him. She should wear His name in order to identify Herself as His Bride. But, one quickly asks, how shall we know that this is an unadulterated or authentic name? The answer, of course, can only be found in the Scriptures. And this could have only been revealed through Jesus Christ. Mysteriously, the Bible gives us the necessary clues.
First of all, the name must include God. There were, and are yet, so many demigods or false gods that The God (Revelation 21:3) saw fit to distinguish Himself as The True and Living God, which separates Him from the non-living gods or gods of stone, bronze, gold, and silver which man is so prone to envision, erect, and accept. "But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God and an everlasting king," (Jeremiah 10:10). He is also the God of the living, "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living," (Matthew 22:32). Here, Jesus enlightens us a little more about the name of the Church.
Secondly, the name must include the Son of the Living God. At the Coast of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus, speaking to His disciples asked, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" (Matthew 16:13). The quick reply was that some men called Him John the Baptist, Elias, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. Some churches still tenaciously cling to these misconceptions in church names. Then He asked them, "But whom say ye that I am?" (Matthew 15:15). Then Simon Peter, more pensively and receiving dictation from God the Father, answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," (Matthew 16:16). Jesus, recognizing that God had revealed this very important Truth to Peter, answered him (lest Peter himself be mistaken), "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee that thou art Peter (Petros), and upon this rock (petra) I will build my church; and the very gates of hell shall not prevail against it," (Matthew 16:17, 18). Now, the question arises, is the "rock" upon which Christ shall build His Church Peter? Certainly not, since Peter was only to be an instrument in the establishment of the Church. The first form of the Greek word for "rock" (petros) is properly translated as "stone" while the second (petra) is rendered as more akin to "boulder" or a mountain-sized rock. The "rock" then refers to Christ Himself! God the Father revealed the cogent thought that Christ is the Son of the Living God to Peter. It was upon this Truth, divinely revealed, that the latter-day Church was to be built.
Finally, the Church name must include the Holy Ghost and should reflect those who are, or would become, the pillars, or builders (I Corinthians 3:1-17) of the latter-day Church. After the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus appeared to the eleven at Jerusalem and, among the things He said to them, He included, "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you [the pillars]: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endowed with power from on high," (Luke 24: 46-49, brackets ours). The promise was, of course, the Holy Ghost. He adjured those who would become the pillars, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained," (St. John 20:22-23). Their preaching (which, today we do primarily in the Church) was to be empowered through the Holy Ghost.
One of the main points revealed to St. Mary Magdalena was the fact that many present-day churches have assumed names not sanctioned by God. They were, in fact, sort of "nick names;" names that bear no relationship to the marriage of the Son of God to the Church. Contemporary churches often identify themselves with ideas, ideals, names of streets, cities, nationalities, people or periods. She taught that there is danger in assuming these "false" names that do not identify us as Christ's Bride. Where, then, lay the key to the mystery of the true name of the Church? This was revealed to Mother Tate through her young son, Felix Early Lewis. He first spoke the name and then it was confirmed to her in the Holy Scriptures.
Mystery Revealed.--There are five basic concepts and their related constructs that must be understood in order to fully comprehend the deeper mystery of the "new" church name (Isaiah 56:5; 62:2) to be assumed by the Bride. They appear simple, but have proven to confound great minds of religious thought.
1. The One-Ness or Unity of God-the-Father and God-the-Son. It is often very difficult to fully appreciate how God-the-Father is often one and the same with God-the-Son with reference to personal statements made by the God-Head in the Old Testament (for example Micah 5th chapter and Isaiah 40:9-11, and in the book of the Revelation 21st and 22nd chapters). Jesus, the Christ, made a special point to impress this humanly very difficult to comprehend concept upon the minds of His disciples and close followers (for example, St. John 14:20; 16:15; and 17:5, 10, 11, 21, and 22). It seems, however, it might have been easier to convey a Father-Son relationship rather than a Same-As relationship. But even this infuriated certain adversaries, at least in an outward pretense manner (S. Luke 22:70, 71). John also tried to convey the One-Ness concept of the Holy Trinity. "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word (Christ), and the Holy Ghost: these three are one," (I John 5:8).
2. The Stoneship of the God-Head. The God-Head is characterized variously as a "stone" (e.g., Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Daniel 2:34, 45); a "rock" (e.g., Isaiah 28;16; Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 18, 30, 31; I Samuel 2:2; II Samuel 22:32); a "foundation" (e.g., Ephesians 2:19-22; II Timothy 2:19; Revelation 21:14), all indicating the stone-like characteristics of the God-Head (Acts 17:29)--sure, everlasting, safe, enduring, lasting, solid, sound, firm, etc. In fact, God often used symbolism in "stone" (e.g., Joshua 4:5-9; 24:25-27; Genesis 10:18; 28:22). Pillar is used in the spiritual/biblical sense to include those individuals who have become "stone-like" (i.e., steadfast, overcomers, strong, reliable, dependable, tenured) in the Church (Galatians 2:9; Revelation 3:12; Matthew 16:18; I John 5:4, 5). Jesus Christ is the "chief cornerstone" or pillar (Ephesians 2:19-22).
3. The God-Head has always been "married" to the Church. Considering the One-Ness of the God-Head, it is rather hazardous to suggest that God-the-Father was "married" or bound in an almost inextricable way to the original (or pre-messianic) Church; and that God-the-Son is subsequently "married" to the latter-day Church. But the Scriptures give us good cause to come to this conclusion (Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:14; St. John 3:28, 29; Revelation 21:2).
4. The Concept of Ground. Psychologists have defined a concept of figure and ground, a mutually influencing relationship between two distinct integers. Figure is characterized by good contour and unity; ground is relatively homogeneous with parts less clear and patterned, and is more pervasive. In this exact same relationship, the Bible uses pillar and ground; "pillar" being equivalent to figure and "ground" being equivalent to holiness. Hence, the spiritual/biblical significance of ground epitomizes the holy place upon which the Church is built--Holiness. The mystery is presented time and time again in the Bible (Genesis 28:10-22; Exodus 3:5; Psalms 90:1; 91:1, 2; Proverbs 14:26; Micah 1:3; Joshua 5:15; Acts 7:33).
5. The Way and the Truth. It is perhaps least difficult to comprehend the "earthly mission/characteristics" bestowed upon Jesus, the Christ. He made this very plain in St. John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me," (emphases ours). This is iterated, emphasized and reverberated on many occasions in the Scriptures (Deuteronomy 32:4; Isaiah 38:8; Jeremiah 6:16; St. John 8:31; II John 1-4; Acts 19:23; St. John 10:11; I John 5:6; Hebrews 10:10-20).
Four Foundation Elements.--Now, the "new" name, which must be declared by the Lord as referred to in Isaiah 62:2, is constructed from four Foundation Elements: God, the Living (Daniel 6:26; I Thessalonians 1:9; I Timothy 6:17; Hebrews 3:12; 10:19-20; II Corinthians 3:3; Revelation 7:2-9; Isaiah 37:4); Christ, the Truth (see above); pillars in the Church; all set and established upon the Ground of true Holiness (Genesis 28:10-22). These secrets in the Church's name were summated in I Timothy 3:15 where Paul the Apostle revealed the complete and true name of Christ's Bride, the Church, to Timothy: "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." So then the whole name becomes The Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth. That was it the true name of the post-Messianic House of God, the Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth! The "which is" grammatical construction (which=relative pronoun) was a strong signal as to what was to follow [comparable to which is now the?]. Hundreds of hours of meditation and study would lead Mary Lena Lewis and generations of her successors and followers to this inevitable conclusion? (Vision!, p. 164). The Pauline statement summates the distinguishing characteristics of the Living God, it identifies the "rock" or chief cornerstone upon which Christ's Church is built, namely, Himself (The Truth), along with other pillars who are overcomers in the church, all set and established upon the foundation of true Holiness, personified in the Holy Ghost (Luke 24:49; St.John 20:22;14:15-17; Acts 1:4, 5, 8; 2:4). See the Church emblem.
We need not be deceived, John made a perfect statement of his desire for no confusion in the matter, "Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom which standeth and heareth him rejoiceth greatly at the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled." John the Baptist did not want to be mistaken as the Husband to the Bride, or Church. He made a public confession: "He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose." He frankly admitted, "I am not the Christ," (St. John 3:28-29; 1:20, 27).
It is generally thought that Peter perhaps died the death of a martyr although there is little direct Bible proof to this effect. Tradition has it that Peter, at his own request, was crucified upside down, not feeling himself worthy to be put to death in the same manner as his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. One must, of course, consider this as secular tradition. We can, in any case, feel confident that Peter would not have felt any more worthy to have the Lord's Bride, the Church, called after his name than did John the Baptist.
Mary Magdalena Lewis Tate and Felix Early Lewis, co-founders (actually, "revivors" is more appropriate) of the latter-day Church insisted upon this point of doctrine so strongly that they even warned against using temporal variations in the form of the name reported in the Pauline letter (I Timothy 3:15). In an artist's rendition of the "Square City," the founders indicated points directly relating to the full name and expression of the Church (see Figure 1, page 169, Mary Lena Lewis Tate: V i s i o n !).
Jesus, the Son-of-man: Christ, the Son-of-God.--The earthly characteristics and missions of Jesus, the Christ, not only proved to confuse the Jews of His day, but are yet confounding for some Bible scholars today. The Son's divinity and humanity were both embodied in the earthly character called Jesus (Hebrews 10:5). During His brief ministry on earth, the "only begotten Son of God" (St. John 3:16; Hebrews 1:5) had many roles to fulfill. During the course of His ministry, He was called (or referred to as) many things in attempts to describe His earthly character/mission and actions. (Some of them were not so friendly, for example, winebibber and glutton, Matthew 11:19.) Many of the descriptions were appropriate, for example, the way, the truth, and the life (St. John 14:6).
According to Matthew's report, Jesus referred to himself as "the Son of man" some twenty-nine (29) times. Mark reported that Jesus referred to Himself as "the Son of man" some fourteen (14) times. According to Luke's report, it was some twenty-six (26) times. John reported that the reference was made some eleven (11) times. Elsewhere in the New Testament, Stephen called Him "the Son of man" at the end of his ministry just before the stoning (Acts 7:56). The only other references to Jesus as such occur in Revelation 1:13 in the description of the seven candlesticks, and 14:14 in John's vision on Patmos, where one who resembled "the Son of man" sat upon a white cloud.
Conversely, the Gospel writers' references to Jesus as "the Son of God" were made by others, in Matthew some nine (9) times; Mark four (4) times; Luke six (6) times; and, John eight (8) times. Jesus is reported to have referred to Himself as the "Son of God" only three (3) times, all occurring in the Gospel according to St. John (9:35; 10:36; and, 11:4). Elsewhere in the New Testament, the Ethiopian eunuch referred to Him as such in Acts 8:37 in his request to Phillip for water baptism; and He was referred to as such in Luke's description of the beginning of Paul's ministry. Further in his letters to the Romans (1:4), Corinthians (II Corinthians (1:19), Ephesians (4:13), and Hebrews (4:14, 6:6, 7:3, and 10:29), Paul uses the "Son of God" appellation. The First epistle of John employs the appellation some seven (7) times (3:8, 4:9, 4:15, 5:5, 5:9, 5:10, 5:12, 5:13, and 5:20). The Revelation records it only once in John's record of Christ's letter to the Church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:18).
It appeared less confusing to refer to Jesus (Matthew 1:21), simply as the son of Joseph and Mary, or "the Son of man."
On Names and Naming. Questions and Answers.
1. What is the difference between "house" and "church" as used in referring to the congregation of Christian believers?
Ans. The original pre-Messianic Hebrew congregation consisted of the genetic seed of Abraham. It was called "The House of God". The term "Church" is applied to post-Messianic Christian congregations, which are composed of (or open to) both Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles). The word "church" does not appear in the Old Testament (King James Version); only in the New Testament.
2. Why not "The House of God"?
Ans. The original mother, or "Bride" was "put away" and the children "sold" to captors because of their own iniquities (Isaiah 50:1). But God in His infinite wisdom chose not to completely "close the door" on any of His human creations. He provided a "new and living way" through His Son (Hebrews 10:19-22).
3. Why not "The Church of God"?
Ans. Although God was "married" to the original congregation (Jeremiah 3:12-14) called "The House of God", He bestowed the privilege (or,alas, burden) of marriage to the latter-day Church, or Bride, upon His only begotten Son (John 3:27-30).
4. Why not "The Church of Christ"?
Ans. Jesus, the Christ, was careful in all of His ministry not to aggrandize Himself by leaving out indebtedness to His Father (e.g., St. John 17th chapter).
5. Why not "The Church of God in Christ"?
Ans. Christ is the Bridegroom; the Church is His Bride. He is the Son of the Living God.
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