Hi Daniel, I appreciate your questions.
DmL> Are you saying that all denominations are part of the Whore of Babylon?
Yes. In light of the Revelation of Jesus Christ,
there is nothing else they can be.
'The Church' has a clear scriptural right to exist.
The 'name' brand' 'church' divisions, do not.
The 'name brand' 'churches' arrangement
constitutes clear and blatant DIVISIONS.
The NT described Church required no such DIVISIONS to fullfill its Commission.
The 'name brand' division arrangement does in fact cause serious and real division among some of the people so divided. Not so blatant in America, as in various other parts of the world not so blessed with religious tolerance as America so far has enjoyed.
'Christians' as active combatants AGAINST EACH OTHER on both sides of world wars is a glaring discrediting of the 'christianity' of organized 'christian' religion.
Since the 'church'es tell the world they are led by Jesus,
I'm confident this state of affairs is not trivia to Jesus.
Though members of 'christian' organized religion are evidently comfortable enough with the status quo to remain members.
Luke 12:51 'Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division;' John 7:43 'So there arose a division in the multitude because of Him'. John 10:19 'There arose a division again among the Jews because of these words'.
Those still apart from Jesus, not led by Jesus, though religious,
were divided about Jesus. EXACTLY LIKE DENOMINATIONS.
Jesus revealed His will, with no hint that His will was not to be obeyed by His people until we get to heaven.
John 17:22 "And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may BE ONE, just as We are one;
Among those that belonged to and served Jesus- While still on earth -
Acts 1:14 These all with ONE MIND were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
Rom. 15:6 That ye may with ONE MIND and ONE MOUTH glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The error of dividing into separate groups is explicitly condemned -
Rom. 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
1 Cor. 1:10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and THERE BE NO DIVISIONS among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
If 'factions' arise, then there can be only one 'approved' 'faction'.
Which RC adamently and openly claimed for centuries to be, [killing the brothers and sisters of Jesus that disagreed] and since Vatican II no longer so proudly boasts of. Except the 'traditionalist''faction' of RC that says Vatican II was 'heresy'.
No 'mainline' 'denomination' I know of claims to be THE 'approved' faction'. However, the Mormons, Jehovah Witness, and SdAdventist claim to be it.
1 Cor. 12:25 that there SHOULD BE NO DIVISIONS in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
Clear repudiation of the 'name brand' 'denomination' arrangement.
Phil. 1:27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with ONE MIND striving together for the faith of the gospel;
To be of ONE MIND is clearly the goal which Jesus's servant Paul taught to be the achievable goal of Christ's people while still on earth.
Phil. 2:2 make my joy complete by being of the SAME MIND, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Jude 1:19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.
Denominations ARE blatant DIVISIONS which exist due to the influence and support of at least semi worldly-minded religious persons.
Allowance for diversity of individual opinion regarding some things as described by Paul is a far cry from the 'name brand' 'church' divisions, led by separated hierarchies, teaching contradicting doctrines, that we are presently surrounded by that Paul explicitly argued against.
Paul would be appalled at an RC 'church', Methodist 'church', Baptist 'church', Preysbyterian 'church', etc, etc.
DmL> If so how far does one take this?
The God given Revelation description of the 'great whore' and her family, is a God created 'litmus' test demonstrating-revealing who in fact knows and seeks the approval of Jesus Christ, vice who 'loves the approval of men'.
DmL> Does that mean that all christain affiliations DmL> that link local congregations together are wrong ....
' Can two walk together, except they be agreed?' Amos 3:3
Those who confess the Revelation fullfillment are and will be separated BY THE CONFESSION from those who don't.
Just as confession of Jesus caused the first Christians to be expelled from the organized religion of that day.
'Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God'. John 12:42-43
Same principle at work regarding God's Revelation prophetic description of the 'great whore'.
Those not in God's truth can no more stay in unity with those in God's truth, than water will stay united to oil.
DmL> ... or even the organising of the local congregations themselves?
JESUS arranges the unity of His own.
Either the Vatican is the Revelation described 'great whore',
or RC is the 'one holy apostolic church' that it claims to be.
No other rational options. Which is it ?
Those who know Jesus know.
DmL> I have often heard people claim that a particular denomination is not of God .....
ALL denominations shun fellowship with at least some of the others.
All the 'mainlines' shun the J.Witnesses, Mormons, and SdA.
RC openly, famously and officially condemned all non RC right up till 1965, when the 'unchanging' 'church' redefined 'heretics' into 'separated brothers'.
The whole Protestant religion grew from a repudiation of RC [and of course, nearly all the original Prots were RC].
DmL> ..... but to make a blanket statement that
DmL>You said JP <<- Some R.C.'s belong to Jesus and will come out. [they will also come out of the Denominations] This is happening now, and has happened before.>>
DmL> If you think people are to come out of "denominations" what are they to go to? In Christ, Dan
Into unity with others that are ONLY 'In Christ'. WBW, John
As JESUS arranges the unity of His own, in His own good timing.
Jesus's people are coming out of organized religion.
As Abraham was ordered out of Chaldea,.....
As Joseph was separated from his family. As Moses was separated from Egypt and the Hebrews.
As the Hebrews were led out of Egypt. As Jesus Himself separated from His blood family.
As Jesus Himself was rejected by the OR of His day.
As the first Christians were separated from the synagogue.
As Jesus's people came out of RC and were called 'heretics'.
As per "come out from their midst and be separate," f. 2Cor.6
As per 'come out of her MY people' f. Rev.18
Lord help us all. With best wishes, John
The whole 'name brand' [ RC, with many name brand 'orders', 'Orthodox'es, then Protestant with a multitude of name brands 'churches'] came into being AFTER Paul wrote.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ was given directly from God, to Jesus, then to Jesus's servants, AFTER Paul wrote.
The Revelation is addressed TO: JESUS'S SERVANTs !
I am confident that a present day literate, adult 'christian' who does not see the fulfillment of chapters 17 & 18 of God's Revelation is analogous to a Jew after Jesus's resurrection who professed belief in God, and who professed belief in scripture, and who did not see how Jesus fulfilled the Messiah's prophetic description.
The world says it wants EVIDENCE of the truth of Jesus.
A big piece of the EVIDENCE God has given is the fulfillment of Rev.17 & 18.
The Revelation is addressed to 'servants of Jesus'.
The Revelation was the key scriptural guide of Jesus's servants, while Constantine and that worldly religious crowd was busy inventing OR.
I agree that there are people who belong to Jesus who are presently in organized religion.
'The Church' has a clear scriptural right to exist.
The 'name' brand' 'church' divisions, do not.
Because of scripture, we can be certain that Christ's people being divided into 'name brand' groups is a temporary arrangement. Not permanent.
Because of [for instance] N.Ireland and Bosnia, we can be certain that the divisions of Christ's people is serious. Not trivial.
There are only two possible ways for Christian unity to come about.
The one is the 'ecumenical movement', which downplays or denies the significance of contradicting doctrinal contentions, which keeps the 'flocks' divided into separate 'name brands', as it attains or seeks to attain an artificial form of 'unity'.
The other is that in Jesus's own good timing, Jesus and His Spirit will see to it that whosoever in fact belongs to Jesus will 'come out' of every branch of organized 'christian' religion and enter into REAL unity in Jesus alone.
JUST LIKE in God's own good timing, God drew those that in fact belonged to God out of the synagogues of ancient Israel and into REAL unity in Jesus Christ and in God.
As it has before, Revelation 17 & 18 will play a key scriptural role in Jesus's accomplishing of this.
I'm as certain of that as I am certain of my name. Maybe moreso.
The "Church" and organized religion are not synonymous..
Ponder the ramifications.
The non-humanly organized are going to see [as some-many already do] Roman Catholicism and the institutional, denominational 'church'es as the fulfillment of the Revelation's description of the 'great whore' and her family.
I cannot over emphasize how serious this 'part' is and will prove to be.
It boils down to two mutually exclusive and diametrically opposed conceptions-conviction-contention of what Jesus thinks of OR.
If one person is urging people to 'come to church' ['church' meaning a 'name brand' branch of OR], and the other is urging people to 'come out of her MY people' ['her' meaning any/all 'name brand' branches of OR] then, Surely you can see that at least one of them cannot be in accord with the will of Jesus Christ.
[and we agree that OR is not synonymous with His Church.]
We agree that Jesus saves people. Not organizations. Yes ?
Jesus did not come to save 'name brand' religious frameworks with contradicting doctrines. I am confident that for good reason, Jesus has tolerated the division of some of His people into 'name brand' organized religions,..... However, I'm equally certain that Jesus will in fact bring His people into real unity in which 'name brand' 'christian' 'church' identity divisions are unknown.
The fact is, the people within many 'name brand' religions are not really united with each other.
Roman Catholicism, presently split into a distinct 'right' and 'left' wing that loaths each other, is the prime, but not only, example of what I am talking about. In South and Central America, this inter 'name brand' hostility has and is causing killing. And so, so much more.
Some say 'to call it the "great whore" of Revelation is not defensable apart from opinion'.
The division of His people into separate 'name brand' [often conflicting] religious bodies is much less defensible.
Especially in light of N.Ireland and Bosnia. And much more.
Roman Catholicism is the prime example of the kind of 'organization' that Jesus' people emphatically DO NOT require and will not remain nor abide in. In practice, to VARYING DEGREES, 'organization' requires 'chain of command' relationships.
Jesus's people, each one personally led by His Spirit, are NOT in a 'chain of command' relationship with each other. At all.
The 'church services' of organized 'christian' religion
are not conducted like Paul describes in 1Cor.14 [a 'command of the Lord'].
[and I am NOT referring to the 'toungues' stuff]
Things are coming to a head. Most assuredly the 'wheat and the chaff' ARE going to be permanently separated and clergy of today are going to repeat behavior of 'clergy' of the past.
Clergymen,... the professional religious leaders of organized religion BY DEFINITION have a material-worldly vested interest in the 'good name' of organized religion, especially the 'good name' of the particular denominational 'name brand' that signs their check.
GET BRUTALLY HONEST WITH YOURSELF.
Being offended by my above will not change the reality.
I've 'been through a wringer' myself. And it isn't over yet.
'You can't serve two masters' is a 'bottom line' truth.
Look at the 'clergy' of Jesus's day. Insulted that anyone would compare that Jewish 'clergy' with today's 'christian' 'clergy' ?
Well, ........ the comparison is valid.
Either one loves the truth or one does not.
What do the divided institutional organized 'churches' system
look like to Jesus Christ?
Look at and listen to the NT Jesus, and ask yourself-
What do I think organized religion looks like
to the person I call Lord ?
organized religion faithful to Jesus ?
I post most often in forums in which the Inquisitions and Crusades are constantly cited as evidence of the alleged worthlessness of Jesus and His guidance.
Presently, TODAY, Roman Catholics are killing Orthodox in Bosnia.
RC and Protestant killing each other in Ireland just recently died down.
At least for now.
'christians' soldiers of American and 'christian' soldiers of Germany
killed many thousands of each other. And so much more.
How is this resolved ? Explained ? In the sight of Jesus, I ask you ?
Whose reputation is a Christian presumably supposed to be defending ?
The reputation of his 'name brand' of 'church' ?
The reputation of religious organizations and institutions ?
Or are we to lift up and defend the name of Jesus Christ ? Everyone calling themself Christian will be forced to choose between two basic 'Christian' 'camps'.
The camp that remains in OR. vice The camp that comes out of OR. United in Jesus with those that never belonged to OR.
We who see the organized 'christian' religions as the fulfillment of the Revelation's prophetic description of the 'great whore' and her family obviously will constitute the latter 'camp'.
Who-what the non-believing world recognizes as the/a Church, vice Who-what Jesus recognizes as His people, His Church,
are not the same. Not 'synonymous'.
OR is like a big building. With people inside.
Jesus saves people. Not demoninations.
Not 'name brand' religious groups. Just people.
The 'building' of OR is collapsing.