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Christendom fell by embracing paganism and the old religious order of legalistic Judaism. To the degree that these foreign elements remain in the church, there is yet the need for reformation, a need to remember from where we have fallen and repent.

The Reformation Cry—"Come out of her My people"

It all began with another call to exodus--a call heard by all true reformers, written in the book which foretold of things which must shortly come to pass.

Come out of her [the Mystery Babylon], My people, that you may not be partakers of her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues. (Revelation 18:4 MKJV)

The early reformers attempted to change the apostate church from within. An example of such a reformer is John Wycliffe of England (1329-1384). Wycliffe boldly attacked the papacy, striking at the sale of indulgences and other rites of pagan origin, such as the veneration or worship of saints. He paid for this with his life.

John Huss of Bohemia (1374-1415) was another who heard the call. Because of His devotion to Christ, he was burned at the stake. A paper crown with the details of his supposed heresy was placed upon his head. He gladly wore it to his death, proclaiming it was the least he could do for Him who wore a crown of thorns.

In time the reformers came to define the apostasy as "The Babylonian Captivity of popes" or as Luther put it, "The Babylonian captivity of the Church." This view changed the image from inner reform to exodus. The reformers began to see that the church could not be reformed--that she was a hopeless harlot bent on the destruction of the people of God.

They began to come out but they went only so far. Like the children of Israel, they turned back in their hearts and worshiped the works of their own hands. They built static institutions, and despite all efforts to the contrary, in time these institutions bore a pronounced resemblance to the apostate systems from which they had escaped. They came out but only to embrace anew the failings of the former system.

This Cain-like tendency to entrench ourselves in systems and mentalities that hinder and eventually halt our forward motion is evidenced by the myriad of denominational affiliations. Most of these denominations are stifled by the very boundaries they installed to protect their once powerful movement. Having come out from among the deadwood of their day, they succumbed to the very thing that caused their own petrifaction. Like all the moves before them, they hardened, refusing to move ahead with fresh growth. In defining creeds and drafting bylaws, they stiffened their necks and resisted any further change. It is rare for the second generation to have the vision of the founding generation.

Before long, some brave soul once again hears the call, comes out, and leads a new exodus. When this happens, the party of the first part sets themselves to kill the party of the second part in the same way the Scribes and Pharisees resisted anyone who tried to leave their ranks. Sadly, those who came out only sojourned a short time before repeating the same mistakes. In each case, what began with the Spirit degenerated into a movement, that further deteriorated into an institution, and in time, the institution became an immovable monument or mausoleum, guarded by stiff-necked Ecclesiarchs. This cycle has repeated itself over and over again right up unto this present time. It has never stopped!

The one telltale factor common in the recurrent demise of the moves of God is that the leaders repeat the error of Cain. When their sacrifice is rejected, they go out from the presence of the Lord and build cities around their revelation, naming those cities after themselves. This is the condition of much of the church today, especially in the United States. We have built great cities around our many revelations--the city of Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal, Charismatic and others. These cities have generally become prisons and death camps for the saints of God who would dare to follow the Spirit. Movements come and go, but it seems that denominations last indefinitely.

As things grow more structured and complex, Jesus is once again left at the door knocking. At that point God calls a remnant out to begin anew. Are you being stirred to reevaluate your diligence and commitment to the race that is set before you? We hope so! Let God begin to speak to you regarding the cities you have built, and are helping to build.

A lot of building is going on today, much of it fleshly. The American church seems especially driven to conquer and build, thinking God is pleased by mere numerical and physical expansion. Great importance is placed in the size of a congregation or facility. Even our vocabulary is replete with inaccuracy as we foolishly continue to call our buildings the House of God or the Church.

In spite of all their good intentions and reforms, the western church continued on with the framework and forms of the world, which are a fundamental transgression of God's order. In the reformation we witness a series of incremental strides toward the restoration of all things. We also see a principle. What does not continue moving with the cloud of His presence will resort to the way of Cain and go out from the presence of the Lord to build cities.

The Cain and Nimrod spirit is very distinctive in its outward manifestation for it always moves toward the building of empires, by men of renown who fail to understand the flexible mobility of the ekklesia. Understand these are gifted, talented, strong leaders who seem to have a vision and purpose. They are founders of civilizations and give birth to tradesmen, artisans, craftsmen and warriors. Some of Cain's descendants were Jabel, the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock; Jubal, the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe; and Tubal-Cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron. Nimrod established eight cities including such great metropolis as Nineveh and Babylon. Raising up empires and birthing gifted and talented offspring does not signify a Godly heritage.

Today, if a man employs the right amalgamation of sound business practices, targeted marketing techniques, well crafted sermons, and of course the talents of a finely tuned worship team, he can amass a group of followers that are willing to fund his empire. Men are often hunted to help build the empire by being offered good salaries, perks and the possibility of exposure to a greater audience for the advancement of their ministry.

God always calls his children out of anything that is fixed, apostate, and refuses to follow on. God is not seeking kingdom builders but pilgrims like Abraham.

How shall we then live? How does this truth shape our approach to the future? Up to this time we have focused on what God has done and what has already occurred among His people. Now we will focus on how these things affect the present and they will take shape as we approach the end of the age. God sets forth types, shadows or signs that prefigure His future purposes. One such foundational sign will occupy our thoughts for the next few moments.

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