Thank you for your time, and may God bless you richly.
Thank you for kind comments and these good questions.
Are today's brick and mortar churches really what Christ had in mind? Are the churches we see on street corners part of the plan of God for man? Are we hear to simply earn a passport to a spiritual world of bliss after we die? Or have we missed some of the present tense of Christ's gospel of redemption for the living?
Christ emphasized seeking the kingdom of God at hand and its righteousness. But what is that kingdom and if He was telling the truth about it being at hand then what would it look like?
Christ told us much about the kingdom and how it worked. He privately instructed1 the apostles on the peculiarities of serving the kingdom. Which they did extensively for many years after Pentecost. They also trained additional and replacement ministers and appointed them. These men changed the course of history for centuries. The true nature of that history and the message of Christ and the prophets has been distracted by a variety of religious dogmas and irrelevant and often contradictory theology.
The early Church acted and functioned in ways far different than any Church we commonly see today. If modern Churches and their congregations were to act and function in the manner of the early Church they might find themselves occasionally persecuted and certainly excluded from many programs and activities that many take for granted in these modern times.
According to the historian Edward Gibbon there were five causes to the growth of true Christian church. He speaks of the passions of the human heart, and the general circumstances of mankind, as instruments to execute its purpose. He lists the inflexible zeal of the Christians, their hope for the future and miraculous powers. But he also speaks about the pure and austere morals and above all "the union and discipline of the Christian republic, which gradually formed an independent and increasing state in the heart of the Roman empire."2
Rome was a sophisticated system of laws and complex government programs. Herod had Helenized Judaic government so that it was unrecognizable except for the religious trappings steeped more in ritual than in substance and the fruits required by Jesus3 . The people of the civilized world had become heavily dependent upon the orderly function of the system they had created with their own hands. They believed it would never fail yet it did.
Christ preached a kingdom that was not of the Roman world4 nor its allies like King Herod but it was at hand. It was completely different than Herod's form government. When Jesus entered Jerusalem he was hailed as the anointed king of that government by the voice of the people and called the highest son of David. He is seen instructing the ministers of the royal treasury5and eventually firing the porters of the temple6 which only the king could do. We see his appointed apostles and their subsequent appointees working daily in the temple7 performing tasks accomplished normally by government agency8 but with unique distinctions. The contributions were voluntary and the benefits were a matter of a networking brotherhood and charity rather than entitlements.
The stones of God's temple were not to be brick an mortar but lively stones, the men and women of faith, hope and charity. They not only did not use the systems of civil Corban9 offered by Herod and Rome but were actually cast out or excluded10 from those failing systems of forced contributions11 and statutory entitlements.
The kingdom of God was and is not like the kingdoms or governments of the world who exercise authority one over the other.12 It has no central treasury13 or federal reserve14 or professional or mercenary army15 and it has no king for all do according to their own God given conscience16 as he writes His laws upon our hearts and upon our minds.17
No matter what you contributed in the kingdom of God it was counted as paid in full because you paid according to the service of your chosen ministers and your own conscience.18 The apostles preached that there was another government that you could look to that was not like Caesar's form of government.19
Many of the Churches and religions today teach valuable lessons of charity, brotherhood and fellowship20 but they are little more than token in their application since the bulk of their dependence and contributions are to governments not unlike Rome21 and the Pharisees22. The Church today seems impotent or at least falls far short of those early gatherings:
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2Ti 3:5
People today are often deluded by modern religion, addicted to modern conveniences and dependent upon a thriving economy. This was also the case of many people of the Roman Empire and the nation of Judea at the time of Christ. Being plugged into these systems make us dependent upon their covetous ways and vulnerable to their inevitable failure.
Learning more about independent life, practical skills, forgotten arts and crafts so common among early Americans can be a rewarding an beneficial activity. Raising your children in a more rural environment and home schooling them can certainly be more beneficial, wholesome and healthy. But learning to live together in congregations of hope and charity, to gather together in a national network of independent God fearing, kingdom seeking people can do more to change the heart and mind than all the religious sermons in the world. Jesus said:
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Lu 6:46
I am not one to preach doom and gloom but anyone who has studied history can easily imagine a time when the system of men fails. It did in Rome, Egypt and Babylon and today will be no different. But we should not be motivated by fear but by love, courage and wisdom.
Getting out of the system, unplugged from the grid, learning to take care of yourself and assisting your neighbor is and will be important but even more important is to get the system of power, control and covetousness out of our own hearts and lives. Moses took the Israelites out of Egypt.23 He began this difficult task while the people still labored for the Pharaoh under his progressive income tax24. Even after the Israelites came out of Egypt it took much longer to get Egypt out of the Israelites. This is why Christ insisted that we should seek the kingdom and its righteousness first. We need to learn to be as concerned about our neighbors rights as we are about our own and to not forsake the coming together.
Israel was a government and Jesus preached a government based on the perfect law of liberty, one based on love, faith and hope. The administrating of that kingdom was appointed to the apostles.25
The people elected their own ministers and cared for the needy amongst their assembled congregations. Modern governments supply the needs of their constituents not by charity but by what they can extract from their human resources or spoil from conquered nations. Abraham had abandoned such systems and God through Moses forbid our return to them.26
Christ was no different. Yes, we should pay Caesar what we owe Caesar but we should also find out why we owe him.27 If we truly obey Christ we would have not appealed to governments that exercise authority to obtain the daily ministration and benefits of that society.
What Christ preached was a kingdom that was not a part of the Roman world28 but it was on this planet. His administrative body was a government but it could and cannot exercise authority29 like the benefactors of the other nations do.
Art thou called [being] a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use [it] rather. 1Co 7:21
If you hear the calling of the spirit of liberty and Truth in your mind and heart while you are still in bondage to the world then we encourage you to seek the kingdom and its righteousness.
If you cannot be free, be at peace, be friends with the unrighteous mammon so that when it fails you will be suitable for more righteous system of self governance.30
If you want to learn more about how the early Church worked and how it didn't work I have published two books on the subject. One tells you what the kingdom is not and the other gives you a history of the early kingdom so that you may recognize what the kingdom is. The first is titled The Covenants of the gods31 and the latter is Thy Kingdom Comes.32 These are available on the net.
We also have done a great deal of work and continue to do so on how a Church and congregation, properly organized from the bottom up, can assist individuals and groups to form that network of liberty in the midst of modern governments which could be called the Kingdom of God.
Such, institutions based on liberty, virtue and God's grace are unique in history. The kingdom is not central, yet, it is an independent government. It is a network of people who are not apathetic, who do care about their neighbor's rights as much as they do their own, who seek the righteousness of God and Jesus the Christ and who live by the perfect law of liberty without forsaking the coming together as is the custom of some. They are not steeped in the declaration of their faith by made dogmas and ancient rituals but live according to the charitable and life giving nature of their Father in heave and in the substance and fruit of that faith in their day to day lives.
1 Matthew 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. Luke 8:10
2 Chapter XV The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
3 Mt 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
4 My kingdom is not of this world http://www.hisholychurch.org/articles/world.php
5 The Public Servants http://www.hisholychurch.org/pdfiles/ministers/clergy.pdf
6 Churches and Temples http://www.hisholychurch.org/pdfiles/ministers/Achurchbk.PDF
7 Ac 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
8 Ac 11:29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea:
9 Corban was a system of civilly funded social security whereby the people became members and a tax was collected by the courts of the Pharisees.
10 Joh 9:22 These [words] spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
11 Mt 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
12 Luke 22:25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: Matthew 20:25, Mark 10:42,
13 Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
14 Leviticus 19:36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I [am] the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 23:19 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:Luke 19:23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
15 Matthew 27:27 Then the soldiers ... stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put [it] upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! Deuteronomy 17:16 tells the leaders not to establish a professional army.
16 Judges 17:6 In those days [there was] no king in Israel, [but] every man did [that which was] right in his own eyes.
17 Hebrews 10:16 This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
18 Numbers 7:5 Take [it] of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service. Luke 21:2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
19 Ac 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, [one] Jesus.
21 Rome vs. US
22 Factions at the Altar http://www.hisholychurch.org/study/history/9factions.html
23 Employ vs. Enslave http://www.hisholychurch.org/study/gods/eve.htm
24 Originally only 20% of their labor was paid to the government under Pharaoh according to the Bible [Ge 47:24] this continued to increase through crafts of state.
25 Luke 22:29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;
26 De 17:16 But he shall not... cause the people to return to Egypt... as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.
27 ROMANS 13 verse 1 http://www.hisholychurch.org/sermon/Romans13.html
Romans 13 and I Peter 2 http://www.hisholychurch.orgsermon/Romanspeter.html
28 My kingdom is not of this world http://www.hisholychurch.org/articles/world.php
29 Luke 22:25, Matthew 20:25, Mark 10:42,
30 Lu 16:9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
31 The Covenants of the gods http://www.hisholychurch.net/order/materialscovenants.html
32 The book Thy Kingdom Comes