Words of a Fether

I am the way, the truth, and the life;
no one comes to the Father except through me. ~Jesus

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Christian Diaspora?

Most who are familiar with the word diaspora know that it concerns the scattering of the nation of Israel after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. Those of us who believe scripture says God is not yet finished with Israel understand that at least 7 years of Jewish history remain and see the crucifixion of Jesus as His being cut off per the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27. So this church age has been an interruption of Daniel’s prophecy due to Israel having rejected her Messiah, as James explained at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:13-18).

But could the ekklesia itself be in a diaspora of its own? Consider what Paul said in Acts 20:29-30 about the wolves that would scatter the flock after his departure: history has shown that within a generation or so from when the last of the original apostles were gone, some began to claim a priestly status above other believers. The famous historian Philip Schaff, in sec. 42 of History of the Christian Church, Clergy and Laity, said Thus we find, so early as the third century, the foundations of a complete hierarchy (source). And as the Roman Catholic Church developed post-Constantine, the Bible itself was held captive by the powerful few, to the point where one wonders how the faith survived at all.

But survive it did, through a remnant very much like that which God always preserved of Israel (see The Reformers and Their Stepchildren for more), though today the efforts of the controlling seem focused more on novel interpretations and the sheer weight of their ability to influence. Some may see this two thousand year time of ebb and flow between light and darkness as proof that God cannot or will not preserve His own Word, yet we believers should know better, especially with the hindsight of the history of Israel. And just as Israel (in fulfillment of prophecies long reinterpreted as allegory) re-emerged in her homeland after two thousand years, so also it may be that the ekklesia is about to end her own such period of dispersion.

We wonder sometimes why God did not see to it that the original manuscripts of scripture, especially the New Testament, were preserved, or why He has allowed such terrible falsehood and violence to be done in His name all this time. But when we realize that God never promised a golden age of the ekklesia or told us how long this age would last (but see Rom. 11:25), we should instead be grateful that even today there are millions who carry the Holy Spirit within them, the scriptures are more readily available to more people than ever before in history, and the stranglehold the powerful have had on the Word of God is being weakened by ordinary believers searching diligently as the Bereans of old (Acts 17:11).

We should also trust God to preserve exactly what He wants preserved, and to leave hidden what He has allowed to be hidden. Instead of letting the critics weaken our faith by mockingly asking why God hasn’t been more openly involved in protecting Jesus’ Bride, we might tell them to ponder the wisdom of demanding an audience with God, because they just might get it. God will let us make mistakes, and we can no more expect to be kept out of the general suffering of the world than some of the famous Israelites of old such as Daniel. But if we remain faithful and keep doing the work God has assigned to us (Eph. 2:10), we will be rewarded (Mt. 5:12, 19:29, Rom. 4:4-5, 11:6, 1 Cor. 3:8-14, Eph. 6:8, etc.).

The world, even the church, is a very bleak and hopeless place now. But we who believe are about to enter the ultimate Promised Land. Are you looking forward to that (2 Tim. 4:8)? Keep your eyes on Jesus (Mt. 14:29-30), and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb. 10:25b).

Posted 2010-12-10 under prophecy, community, worship, faith, rapture