"Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' " Jeremiah 6:16
The death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ did away with the old ritualistic priesthood, along with the temple, sacrifices, rules, regulations and commandments of men, and through the veil of His flesh He provided a new and living way for His believers to travel: the narrow way! Jesus said that He was the way, the truth and the life and that no man could come before the Father but through Him and by this He instituted a new covenant written in His own blood.
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ initiated the beginning of an unbelievable event in which His Spirit would now abide in a temple not made with human hands and free from the old traditions and rituals of the past. Before His death Jesus poured His life into twelve men who would in turn share His life with thousands who would become His new supernatural body in the earth. No more temple, no more sacrifice and no more ritual, only the freedom of the leading of God's Spirit to guide them on their spiritual journey as Christ's body. Church was no longer a place to go, but a Person to be, the expression of Jesus in the earth, filled with His Spirit, empowered with His authority and free to worship Him and to function in their designated gifts and talents.
A new temple, a new priesthood and a new sacrifice were ordained and established through the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. The dwelling place of God was now abiding in a temple of living stones, washed in His blood, scorched with the fires of trial and placed upon the Chief Cornerstone to ever house the presence of the Most High. The High Priest was raised from the dead to give spiritual life to a royal priesthood of believers who would become the living sacrifices of a new order of chosen ones, destined to rule and reign in the newly formed kingdom of God on earth. As the fire of God's presence was poured out on the stones it seemed that nothing could stop their forward motion, at least nothing of this world, but they were about to undergo a major attack from the devil three hundred or so years into their journey with the rise of a new emperor in Rome, Constantine, "Pontifex Maximus," chief of the pagan priests.
You also as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. I Peter 2:5
A SAVAGE WOLF OF DECEIT
"Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. "Also from among yourselves men will rise up speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after themselves." Acts 20:28-30
From the beginning of God's creation in the garden Satan has sought to destroy the forward motion and freedom that was intended for the children of the Most High to have in the newly formed kingdom of God in the earth. From Adam and Eve up until the Christ entered the wilderness Satan was there to deceive and conspire against the divine plan for man to rule in a heavenly kingdom here on earth. Satan did his best to try and deceive even the Lord in the beginning of His mission and ministry on earth when he said to Him, "If you are the Son of God." Was there any doubt?
Satan failed to deceive the Son of God and stop Him from creating His kingdom on earth but that didn't stop him from following this newly formed band of disciples to try and find a weakness or an inroad to enter the flock and destroy their mission. Over and over he sent persecution, false brethren and trials of all kinds, hell bent on their destruction, but every time God delivered them and they defeated their enemies even saving the apostle Paul on the Damascus road, on his way to persecute the new church. Nothing Satan could do stopped them from multiplying their disciples and the churches abounded in the freedom and power given them from the throne of God until the devil found a man he could use to stop them forever and cripple them with the one thing he new best: "religion."
A new emperor had come into power in Rome and had become a Christian or so it seemed, but none the less Satan had a plan to use this man to entomb the body of Christ forever in a mausoleum of man made religion and tradition and it almost destroyed the body of Christ forever as Satan conspired to resurrect the old priesthood and choke the spiritual life out of the church! From this one demonically inspired scheme Satan was able to cripple the church and create thousands of denominations, divisions and factions, splintering God's people and creating a dead, lifeless ritualistic religion filled with tradition, doctrines of demons and pagan practices, even the creation of the Catholic church with Constantine being the first Pope. It looked pretty grim but it was about to get even worse, much worse.
"Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit." Matthew 7:15-17
RESURRECTING THE OLD ORDER
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many go in by it. 'Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:13,14
From it's inception Christianity had flourished under the control of the Holy Spirit having no boundaries or regulations holding it in check to the desires of a man or a priest, that is until Satan incited the newly appointed emperor of Rome to give it a complete new makeover. Constantine supposedly had become a Christian although his actions displayed his true character and pagan upbringing and so he was about to make Christianity the national religion of Rome and give it a more dignified look!
Under his rule Constantine totally stopped the forward motion of a once humble faith by putting the body of Christ back in a building where it would have prestige and dominance as a worldly religion complete with a paid professional clergy to lead it back under the old priesthood previously destroyed by the Lord Himself. The Way had been clouded with tradition and ritual, pagan practices and man-made doctrines, rules and regulations leaving it entombed in a mausoleum reserved for the dead. Many of the things we do today in the church were instituted by Constantine and came from paganism and Greco-Roman culture, polluting the body of Christ with its man centered religion of dead works. No longer a Person to be, the church was now a place to go, welcomed by the world and placed in a pot to be viewed like a beautiful flower for all to see, but there was something missing: the presence of a Holy God, deeply offended because His bride was being buried in the traditions of man-made religion.
The devil had finally succeeded in defeating the purposes of God by injecting His body with man-centered ritualistic religious tradition bringing about its death by suffocation and being embalmed with the teachings and doctrines of men and demons. Once free to roam the world spreading the gospel of salvation walking in the power and anointing of Holy Spirit fire, the warrior queen was trapped, bound and imprisoned by a diabolical plan inspired by the shinning one, Lucifer, arch angel of deception, deceit, and the father of all lies! Since that fateful time the church has never recovered her former glory even though many have tried to raise her, she was too far gone, weakened by deception and polluted by tradition she languishes in a drunken stupor unable to free herself from her captives, she lies in state, a once beautiful bride but now a sleeping beauty waiting for a kiss from her Bridegroom to awaken her and free her from her bonds.
Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? Haggai 2:3